A Session of Less Than Five Minutes

halfa session A Session of Less Than Five MinutesALBANY—Three o'clock has come, and Democrats have gathered in the State Senate chamber to convene the extraordinary session, but not do anything.

Citing legal concerns admitted this afternoon by Peter Kiernan, the governor's counsel, most of the members of the Democratic conference stood on the floor of the chamber and articulated their objections before gaveling out.

"It is not clear that a Senate-only extraordinary session can result in any bills becoming law," State Senator Jeff Klein, a Democrat from the Bronx, said.

Earlier, Republicans had echoed the problems in Paterson's call, and refused to commit to showing up for the session.

"The governor should lead here and set an example, not throw gasoline on the fire that exists here. He should be trying to put out the fire," State Senator Pedro Espada Jr., a Republican-allied Democrat, said. "I don't want to continue to contribute to the circus. And the governor has said he wants to be the ringmaster."

He and some Republicans proposed binding arbitration.

This extraordinary session was over in five minutes.

"The next move is the governor's," Angelo Aponte, the unrestrained Senate secretary, said.