ALBANY—Another senator is being excused.
Deputy Minority Leader Tom Libous voted, by unanimous consent, on the remaining budget bills. The courtesy was extended to him so he can rush back to Binghamton, where a major hostage situation is unfolding.
"As we get details, we're going to do whatever they can to comfort the families," Libous just said on the floor. "All I can do now is tell you, please offer your prayers for all of the victims."
The same thing was done yesterday to allow State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson to vote and leave, so she could convalesce from walking pneumonia.
Otherwise, the debate slogs on. Senators took the floor around 8:40 this morning—a little later than planned —and are now debating the sixth of nine budget bills. Republicans are attacking it for its elimination of the STAR property tax rebate.
Also worth noting is Jacketgate (which Liz has covered well here), which involved the loss and return of State Senator Neil Breslin's jacket in a bathroom. I caught Breslin—now with matching top and bottom—as he left the dais and let someone else preside over the chamber. The only residual consequence: He had already canceled his credit cards. And until the budget is passed, his paycheck is held by the state comptroller. Will that be a problem?
"I might have to go on the food line," he said.