ALBANY—Having gone through the active list of "vanilla" bills this morning, Democrats in the State Senate—claiming they have a 32-vote quorum—are going further.
Senator Malcolm Smith, a Democratic leader, called a meeting of the Rules Committee in the back of the chamber, where senators voted 80 more bills onto the active list. They're about to start acting on—and apparently passing—them.
Most of the legislation looks fairly routine to my eye (sorry, can't post this list). One thing that I noticed was a bill that would allow New York City to raise its sales tax in order to balance its budget. Legislation renewing mayoral control of schools is not on the list.
Senator Frank Padavan, a Queens Republican, is not in the chamber. He was counted as present earlier by the chamber's journal clerk, a move which Republicans say is a "fraud."
Not so, Democrats say.
"Frank Padavan has been here since 1972, and the first thing they teach you is that the minute you walk in the chamber, you're counted present for the purpose of a quorum," Senator Diane Savino, a Staten Island Democrat, said. "He did it on purpose."
It may not matter. According to Irene, David Paterson said he will not sign any bills the Senate passes.