Governor Paterson May Use State Police To Force Senators Into Action


paterson-fat-taxNY Governor David Paterson says enough is enough. Fed up with the fighting in Albany, the governor is ordering Senators back into the state house – and he plans to keep them there until the squabbling stops. “Over the last couple of weeks, the senators’ conduct has been laughable – but what’s going on around here is no joke, and I don’t find it funny!” Paterson said. Saying he’s not amused yesterday, a stern Gov. Paterson ordered a special state Senate session for tomorrow. “To the senators, I tell you: you have inconvenienced the lives of all New Yorkers for a couple of weeks, and now you will come back to work and do the people’s business,” he said.

The governor warned Senators, who have refused to pass bills since the coup in Albany, that they’d better show up or else.

“If the Senators do not cooperate with this order, I will convene a special session everyday until they do,” Paterson said. “That includes Saturdays and Sundays, that includes Fourth of July. There will be no excuses, and there will be no tolerance to non-compliance to this order.”

While the governor can’t force senators to vote on or debate bills, the state constitution grants him the power to call a special legislative session – and experts say he can even keep the senators in the state house with the help of state police.

“I think, at the extreme, he does have the power to call them in, and use the power of the police to bring them in, to get them all in the same room,” state constitution expert Richard Briffault says.

But the governor can’t do much more beyond that.

“The governor has the power to propose, to give them an agenda, and to make them look at it,” Briffault says. “But he has no power to make them take any action.”

Work in the senate has ground to a halt since the June 8 leadership dispute began.

{CBS Broadcasting/ Newscenter}