Senate Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous said today it’s unclear whether a special session of the Legislature is all but ruled out for this year.
“I think while certainly the governor and others are downplaying it, you never know,” Libous said in an interview with Gannett’s Albany Bureau. “There’s a lot of time on the clock between now and the end of the year.”
Senate Republicans have opposed a pay raise for lawmakers, who haven’t had one since 1999. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signaled that a special session is unlikely because of the cleanup efforts after Superstorm Sandy, which struck the downstate region Oct. 29.
Some lawmakers want a special session to provide state help to victims of the storm.
Assemblyman Robert Sweeney, D-Babylon, Suffolk County, said he had called on Cuomo to call a special session so lawmakers can pass legislation that would alleviate some tax deadlines for local governments. Some lawmakers also want to lift the 180-day requirement for school districts to hold classes after a week of school was wiped out because of the storm.
“Things like this, I think, are better resolved sooner rather than later,” Sweeney said today. “So for that reason, I would encourage a legislative session that deals with these and other issues.”
Sweeney said he would back a pay raise during the special session.
Control of the state Senate is also complicating a special session. It’s unclear who will be in the majority in January; election results in two races are still undecided.
Libous knocked Sen. Michael Gianaris, D-Queens, who today said it’s Republicans who are creating chaos over the election results.
“All of the votes have not been counted. Until we have final counts in all the elections, no one can determine what the next move is,” Libous said. “I don’t think it’s chaos, we’re letting the voters speak.”
As for Democrats, Libous added, “They’re the ones with the turmoil. They’re the ones who can’t seem to get their act together. They couldn’t get it together in 09-10 and they can’t it get together now.”