Senate Republicans Enter Chamber, Proceed With Their Own Agenda

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The Senate Sergeant at Arms. Photo: Jacob Gershman

Well, at least they're all in the same room now. Albany Republicans marched into the State Senate chamber at 2:25 today and began holding their own session. When they were physically prevented from taking the dais by the Senate Sergeant at Arms, they took position in the center of the floor and asked people to rise for the Pledge of Allegiance. Democrats remained seated, and after the pledge, GOP senator George Winner began reading off a list of bills. He's now declaring them unanimously approved, 62–0 (nothing contentious like marriage equality or mayoral school control has been mentioned). In a somewhat comical moment, Democrat Tom Duane took a moment to walk into the center of the room, stand right in front of Winner, look right through him as if he didn't exist, and then wave a hand in front of his face as he talked. Winner appeared momentarily flustered and attempted to ignore Duane, who went on to the dais to confer with lawyer Marty Connor. A special session attended by all senators, ordered by Governor Paterson, is scheduled to begin at three.

Update: At 3 p.m. on the dot, the Republicans gaveled out and declared a recess until 5 p.m. At that time the Democrats gaveled in and declared the special session open. A shouting match ensued with Republicans over who was in charge, and then shortly after, the Democrats gaveled out again and began leaving the chamber. The Republicans at that time started calling roll, and declaring some of the Democrats present even as they were rapidly fleeing. It is a new level of chaos, and where any of this stands legally it's impossible to know at this point.