The New York Republican Senators are up in arms over what they insist was a Democratic trick: using the brief appearance of a Republican Senator to break a long-standing stalemate. Sen. Frank Padavan of Queens says that he was on a quest for a Coca Cola, not voting, when he cut through the Senate floor on the way to the member lounge’s soda machine. The Democrats immediately counted him as the 32nd vote and unanimously passed 125 bills in three hours with Republicans absent.
There has been a three-week old stalemate in the Senate with a 31-31 split. While the Democrats had a majority in January, two Democrats — Sen. Pedro Espada of the Bronx and Sen. Hiram Monserrate of Queens — switched parties June 8 giving the Republicans a majority. Monserrate of Queens, however, then switched back to make it 31-31. (It is not clear how the people of Queens takes to Monserrate switching in and out of party affiliation faster than Elizabeth Taylor changed husbands).
Republicans are calling it fraud. The Democrats insist that senate journal clerk Lisa Copeland counted Padavan as present in “accordance to procedures and customs.” Copeland signed an affidavit stating: “During these opening proceedings and after the start of session, I noticed that Senator Frank Padavan walked across the back of the Senate Chamber and looked upward toward the Senate desk where the deputy journal clerk is located and where I take attendance. Based on my personal observation of Senator Padavan in the ordinary course of Senate business, I marked him present on my Senate attendance sheet.”
New York Gov. Paterson has said he will not sign any of the bills into law due to the controversy. Personally, I am disappointed. This would have made for a fascinating lawsuit — and a wonderful sales campaign for Coca Cola.
We appear to have located actual footage of Senator Padavan upon his non-arrival:
For the full story, click here.
Kudos to Buddha is Laughing for the Marx link.