Paterson Calls Another Session, Threatens to Withhold Pay

ALBANY—David Paterson has called another extraordinary session of the chaos-embroiled State Senate, but is upping his threats to legislators after they spent less than five minutes in session today: he will obtain a court order to them in if they do not go, and he will withhold their pay.

"The senators swore to uphold the Constitution; the Constitution empowers the governor to convene them in special session," Paterson said in a press conference. "If senators do not come to special session, they are in violation of the Constitution. That is very clear."

He went on to say, "I am directing the state treasurer to withhold any paychecks or per diem checks from June 8 forward. If you do not come to work, you shouldn't get paid."

Of course, as a spokesman for the State Comptroller's office just told me, senators were paid today for June 11 through 24. Per diem expenses–$160 per day–are reimbursed on a rolling basis.

Of the governor's request, he said "we have to review what our options are legally."

The point may be moot. I've spoken to about half a dozen lingering senators in the past few minutes, all of whom said (in variously begrudging ways) that they will show up tomorrow. For Democrats, this is a shift from an earlier declaration that they see no point showing up because of the dubious legal basis for submitted legislation.