The Times Union has more on the surprisingly complicated subject of Lt. Governor David Paterson’s theoretical ability to tip the balance in favor of the Democrats in case of a tie in the state Senate.
From the Times Union:
The notion of a casting vote is that the lieutenant governor would have the right to break ties. It would probably not give the lieutenant governor the right to vote to force a tie.
Nonetheless, the Constitution in describing the manner in which a bill becomes a law provides the following: “Nor shall any bill be passed or become a law, except by the assent of a majority of the members elected to each branch of the legislature.”
This provision means a bill can be passed only when the majority of the members of each house vote for the bill.
The lieutenant governor is not a member of the state Senate. With 62 members, the affirmative votes of 32 members are needed to pass a bill. If a vote on a bill is 31-31, it does not pass, and the lieutenant governor is not authorized by the Constitution to vote on the bill.
So for anyone who’s still wondering, the Democrats need a three-seat swing — giving them a plain old free-and-clear majority — to regain control.
— Azi Paybarah