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05 April 2010

Former State Senator Thinks Legislature Could Stay 'Til May

Former state Senator Michael Meyer von Bremen (D - Albany) thinks the 2010 legislative session could last until early May
[Meyer von Bremen, Michael (2010-4-3).
Session could last until May
. Albany Herald. Retrieved on 2010-4-5.]
. I believe he's right.

The legislature's only constitutionally-required mandate is to pass the budget. As of April 5th, the 2010 supplemental budget sits in the House awaiting further action after passing the Senate in February. The 2011 "big" budget has yet to pass out of committee.

The budget is such a mess right now. Everything in it stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little, and the budget will fail to the ruin of all. Thursday, legislators got a sample of that when the Senate spent hours searching for votes to pass the hospital bed tax. The word around the Capitol Thursday seemed to be that without the bed tax, the entire budget would fall apart.

The bed tax passed the Senate, but now it goes back to the House where I'm sure they'll disagree with the Senate's bill, insist on their position and appoint a committee of conference.

That, my friends, is when the real fun begins as the House and Senate takes some time to negotiate a final bill.

And let's be truthful here, the General Assembly needs time (and lots of it) to fix this budget with or without the bed tax.

Lawmakers are off this week. They return Monday, April 12th for the 34th legislative day. That leaves six legislative days in the 2010 session. Candidate qualifying is two weeks later. Fiscal Year 2011 does not begin until July 1st, which means that the legislature could conceivably adjourn for qualifying and then come back in May to pass the budget.

That may seem far fetched to some, but it is an option probably being considered by legislative leaders.