ALBANY—This extraordinary session of the State Senate might not even matter.
The bills that have been placed on the desks of senators–sent up by David Paterson–are specially numbered for and introduced in extraordinary session. That means that even if they are identical to bills previously passed in the State Assembly, they cannot be signed into law because the bills did not pass both houses in the same session, one theory goes.
“An extraordinary session is a completely new session,” Senator Eric Schneiderman explained.
Article IV Section 3 of the State Constitution gives the governor the authority “to convene the legislature, or the senate only, on extraordinary occasions. At extraordinary sessions convened pursuant to the provisions of this section no subject shall be acted upon, except such as the governor may recommend for consideration.”
But I’m told that the “or the senate only” language was inserted during the1821 Constitutional Convention. A report of the proceedings and debate of said that it was inserted because the Senate has appointing powers, which might become extraordinarily necessary.
Senator Carl Kruger, a Brooklyn Democrat, said along with several of his staffers that the bills would not be valid unless they were passed by the Assembly in the same extraordinary session.
“This means nothing,” Kruger said.
Under this logic, passing a bill like mayoral control of schools and saying it could be signed into law if it passed the Assembly one year and the Senate the next year.
It’s unclear what the Assembly would have to do to make valid for consideration the bills. Schneiderman said options were being examined.
Dan Weiller, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, did not immediately have a comment.