Almost every day in Albany brings with it some new, farcical episode to entertain/torment us, but what happened in the Senate today seems even sillier than before, if that's possible. Senate Democrats are claiming that as they gaveled in to yet another useless extraordinary session, Republican Frank Padavan briefly walked through the back chamber, granting them the necessary quorum and tacitly granting his vote to any bills that came to the floor. And with that, the Democrats started "passing bills." Padavan, they say, knew precisely what he was doing. "This isn't a rookie mistake. It's like the first thing they teach you when you get here that when you walk through the chamber and come in eye contact with the journal clerk you are marked present. He absolutely did it on purpose," says Democratic senator Diane Savino.
The only problem is that Padavan claims he had no intention of creating a quorum, and "had merely cut through the chamber en route to the Senate lounge for a Coke" because the hallway was blocked. Furthermore, he says he was already out when the Democrats gaveled in. Could he be trying to have it both ways allowing the Democrats to finally finish up the Senate's business while maintaining plausible deniability? If so, that would be pretty damn clever, but then again, he probably wouldn't be protesting so strenuously. His true intentions seem moot, since Governor Paterson, after talking to Padavan, decided that the votes weren't legitimate and that he won't sign the bills.
Paterson Won't Sign The Senate Dems' Bills [Daily Politics/NYDN]
A Leaders Meeting That Wasn't, And A Ghost Quorum (Updated) [Daily Politics/NYDN]