Assemblyman Steve Katz sought to criticize Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, today as the Assembly debated a 10-point women’s agenda.
Katz didn’t get too far.
Speaking on the Assembly floor, Katz, R-Yorktown, Westchester County, said he wanted to “clear the air” and “have us talk about something that been like a stinking miasma around this body for the last few months.”
He went to try to bring up the criticism that Silver didn’t swiftly take action against Assemblyman Vito Lopez after sexual harassment allegations were made by Lopez’s aides.
“I have watched this season a legislative body that has protected and supported a speaker with 12-year history of enabling …” Katz started to say.
At that point, he was cut off by Speaker Pro Tempore Jeff Aubry, D-Queens: “Mr. Katz, we are constrained in our remarks that are before us. Other issues relative to the operation of the house or other issues are not in order as long as we are addressing a bill.”
Katz, who was ticketed for speeding and marijuana possession in March and once settled a sexual harassment complaint against his veterinarian office, protested.
“I think this has an awful lot to do with this bill, Mr. Speaker, and I would like to complete what I have to say,” Katz responded. “But if you say no, let’s let it stay right where it is right now. Let’s let all the questions and all the issues that we’ve all been hearing from constituents and around the state to stay quiet and silent as we all go about our business, as if nothing is wrong here. That’s fine, Mr. Speaker.”
Later, Katz said he would vote against the 10-point bill, even though he would likely had supported nine of the 10 pieces—except the abortion-rights component. And he took one last shot at Silver and his Democratic colleagues.
“One thing that has been, again, a head-scratcher for me at least is the defending silence that we have seen in this entire session over a scandal here that is consuming us and has hurt the credibility of our body,” Katz concluded.