Storming the Floor, The Coalition Gavels In

ALBANY—They came, they gaveled, they left.

Despite pending litigation, the Republican-led coalition claiming to control the State Senate after a coup Monday entered the chamber and conducted some brief business, but left without passing any bills.

I didn't get back to Albany in time to see it (Liz has a blow-by-blow here), but State Senator Kemp Hannon said that 32 members entered the chamber—30 Republicans plus the turncoat Democrats Hiram Monserrate and Pedro Espada Jr.—were counted in a quorum, and adopted the journal from Monday's proceedings. No bills were enacted, because the official bill jackets remained locked in a drawer, Hannon said. The officially appointed clerk, Thomas Testo, and stenographer did not show up. The coalition provided staffers. State Senator George Winner, an Elmira Republican, presided.

Monserrate, who has been under considerable pressure to come back into the Democratic fold, was counted in the quorum, made a statement saying he wouldn't vote for any bills today, and left.

Protesters organized by Citizen Action swamped the lobby outside the chamber, chanting "voters not donors" and "the Senate is not for sale."

I asked State Senator Marty Golden, a Brooklyn Republican, whether he was concerned the proceedings today would be nullified by a court.

"How can it be declared illegal if you have 32 members and they have 30 members?" He asked. "Any judge in the land can count." Storming the Floor, The Coalition Gavels In