The Somos El Futuro Conference is winding down, with attendees looking forward to the legislative year and the effect the elections are having on the balance of power in the Senate. NY1 Political reporter Erin Billups filed the following report from Puerto Rico.
With less than two months left to his term, Governor David Paterson had been hoping to bring lawmakers back to Albany to handle some unfinished business.
“We have to come back before January 1,” said the governor.
But after State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said Thursday it may not make sense for the Legislature to return on November 15th as Paterson requested, it seemed Sunday like the governor has changed his mind.
"He’s absolutely right about November 15th because some of those races are still being resolved,” said Paterson. “I’ll probably move that date back the next couple of weeks and I’ll do it as soon as Monday."
Paterson says lawmakers still need to officially appropriate new federal funding and work on a plan to re-organize the New York City off-track betting, among other things.
However, Silver, who some say wants to wait and work with the new governor, says the legislation does not need to be passed until the end of the fiscal year, meaning by April 1st.
“We have signed an agreement among five leaders for the federal government as to how we would do it, so there are no deadlines per se,” said Silver.
But Paterson insists the work cannot wait.
"It comes down to who are you going to believe, and I’m telling you we’ll be back before the end of the year,” said the governor.
State Senate President Pro Temp Malcolm Smith, also in Puerto Rico for the conference, says work can still get done without a clear majority established in the Senate.
"If we have to go back and look at the power sharing agreement that we talked about during the coup when it was 31-31 or even 30-30 while we finalize everything,” said Smith. “But I'm sure they'll be cooperative."
Meanwhile, those still in Puerto Rico for the conference are looking forward to Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo's address during Monday’s breakfast.