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State Senate Puts Mayoral Control On Ice, Again

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The State Senate was supposed to take up the issue of mayoral control of city schools Wednesday night, but it didn't even reach the floor.

In a Senate session that started seven hours late, the Democrats declined to take up the issue without making amendments to it.

The main change calls for the creation of a state commission on public safety, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg feels amendments aren't needed and pressed to keep lawmakers in Albany.

Amendments would have added oversight councils on arts and safety, among other changes.

"They're not God. We have the right to do an amendment. We have a right," said State Senator Shirley Huntley. "In this political structure since I've been here, everybody's afraid of someone. I'm afraid of no one. Who the hell cares? It's everybody is afraid that this one will be angry and that one will be angry, but if you came to operate on behalf of your constituents, you don't care."

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said it is too late for his house to change a bill that passed handily.

"The assembly has already passed the school governance of mayoral control in agreement with the governor and the mayor, so there's no reason for the assembly to return in August to achieve that," said Silver. "We've already done that in mid-June."

Control of city schools reverted back to the Board of Education on July 1 when the law expired during the month long power struggle in Albany.

Wednesday's senate agenda was also expected to include rules reform and the allocation of member items. Instead, state lawmakers concentrated on less controversial issues including the confirmation of several judges.

Meanwhile, a Long Island judge heard arguments Wednesday on the legality of Governor David Paterson's appointment of Richard Ravitch as lieutenant governor but did not render a decision.

State Supreme Court Justice William LaMarca heard from attorneys for the governor and from attorneys for two state senators who oppose the appointment as being unconstitutional.

LaMarca did not indicate when he might rule. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP