Morning Read, Upstate: The State of Our State Is…

In his State of the State speech today, David Paterson will focus on ethics and re-doing the Empire Zone program.

Paterson will strike a hopeful tone, he said.

The ethical component will force disclosure of outside income (and clients) by lawmakers.

“It’s pretty clever,” Grant Reeher, a political science professor at Syracuse University, told the Post-Standard. “It’s a bold initiative, but it doesn’t have a big price tag attached to it.”

The News says legislators reacted to the ethics proposals “like swine flu.”

“One wonders. Does he expect to achieve all of this? Where are his more specific priorities? Or does he have any?” Asks the Times Union. “An unpopular governor has effectively declared war on an even more unpopular Legislature. That might qualify as desperate yet shrewd politics in the eyes of a wary and disillusioned public. Mr. Paterson should remember, though, that war with the Legislature is dirty and difficult business. He hasn’t had so much tangible success at it, and his predecessor, Eliot Spitzer, fared even worse.”

“If it’s viewed as a totally good-government proposal, I think it will be viewed positively; if it’s viewed as the governor posturing, I think it will be viewed with a negative reaction,” said Senator Neil Breslin, an Albany Democrat.

Tom Precious remembers how Mario Cuomo also beat up on the state legislature in 1992.

Republican Senate Leader Dean Skelos will likely push to have Hiram Monserrate expelled from the chamber.

With the encouragement of several major Democratic donors, Harold Ford Jr. may run in a primary against Kirsten Gillibrand.

Michael Bloomberg may back him as well.

The Times discovers the Working Families Party, and its attendant questions.

Some state 60,000 pension checks are lost in the mail.

Page Six writes about Senator Carl Kruger’s conflict with gay activists.

U.S. Senator Chris Dodd won’t seek re-election.

The Times thinks New York should model its juvenile justice system after Missouri.

Hackers stole $3 million from a rural school district in Schenectady County.

Essex County officials want mileage reimbursements for residents who have to drive around a collapsed bridge.

Representative Scott Murphy, a freshman, said he got accidentally close-lined by a security officer in his first days in office.

And below, Senator Bill Perkins talked about reforming eminent domain after a Harlem hearing: