Diaz Excuses His Absence

ALBANY—State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. is “sorry” he missed a vote on Leandra’s Law, which cracks down on people who drive drunk with kids in their car, but he has other business to attend to.

“I am distributing turkeys to my seniors in the Bronx,” Diaz told me by phone. He said he’s distributing 2,000 turkeys. Last year, he was being wooed by both Republican Leader Dean Skelos and Democratic Leader Malcolm Smith in a fight over his chamber’s leadership, and his Thanksgiving festivities were very well attended.

Diaz  left Albany on Tuesday after making a stink on the floor Monday night that there was no reason for him to be in Albany until a deal is reached on New York’s budget deficit.

“When they get a deal for the budget, they’re going to call me,” Diaz told me. And the vote on Leandra’s law?

“That was important, and I’m sorry that I missed that one, but I am here in my district distributing turkeys to my seniors–seniors that don’t always have something to eat, and who the governor wants to cut $10 million from.”

The bill passed 58-0. According to a Senate clerk, Senator Marty Golden, a Brooklyn Republican, was excused and the other absent legislators were Velmanette Montgomery, a Brooklyn Democrat and Ken LaValle, a Long Island Republican.