Thank you, State Senate Democrats and Republicans, for making a mockery of our already dysfunctional state government. Today was the start of the special session that Governor David Paterson called for the stalemated Senate. And it went exactly how you'd imagine it. According to the NY Times, "Republicans and Democrats attempted to hold separate Senate sessions at the same time on Tuesday, leaving the Capitol in confusion and bickering as members of both parties shouted over each other on the Senate floor, and each party claimed it was in control."
Initially the Democrats entered the Senate chambers first—and locked themselves in. The Post found out, "[Senator Malcolm] Smith spokesman Austin Shafran said Democrats would not let Republicans into the chamber until the special session, preventing them from attending a 2 p.m. Republicans called as a way to preemptively occupy the gilded meeting hall. Sergeants-at-arms, which are still controlled by Smith, were posed at the chamber gates." The GOP faction did enter eventually; from PolitickerNY:
The remainder of the 62 senators entered the chamber around 2:30, and the lights went on. State Senator George Winner, an Elmira Republican, attempted to take the dais. He was blocked by a deputy sergeant at arms, who said he was acting on the orders of Senate Secretary Angelo Aponte.
Without hesitating, Winner walked to the area below the chamber, said the Pledge of Allegiance (the Dems didn’t say anything) and began moving through an active list of local bills and extenders. The bills were read, the roll was called, and as Democrats sat silently, Republican parliamentarian Jack Casey said the bills were passed, 62-0.
How can bills pass 62-0? Per the Daily Politics, "This is a so-called 'non-controversial calendar,' which means that unless someone asks to lay the bill aside, it's assumed everyone is voting 'yes.'" Good times.