Monday, June 09, 2008

The Albany Wire

Is it a sprint? A run, jog or brisk walk toward the end of the legislative session?

With two weeks left--a total of eight session days remaining--there's much ado about the unfinished business of the legislature, in particular Governor Paterson's program bills.

In today's New York Post, "Inside Albany" columnist Fred Dicker reports that tension between the staffs of the governor and Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver is focused on the call for reduced spending and a property tax cap.

Meanwhile the Times' Danny Hakim does some number crunching in today's Empire Zone. Of the governor's 18 program bills, five passed, including three budget bills and two were the result of negotiations with public-sector unions. Of the 13 remaining bills, seven haven't even been introduced in either chamber.

It should be noted that it's an extraordinary year given that Governor Paterson was sworn in 12 weeks ago and his first three weeks were consumed with the budget.

As the Brennan Center reported in the 2006 New York State Legislative Report Update an unusually high proportion of bills are passed in the end-of-session logjam. According to the report: "In 2005, 36% of major bills were passed in in the Senate and 40.4% were passed in the Assembly during these last possible days." That doesn't seem likely to change this year.

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