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Lawmakers Return To Albany For First Time Since Corruption Scandals

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Lawmakers were back at the state Capitol Monday for the first time since two public corruption scandals broke out, shaking up both statehouses but particularly the Senate, where one senator is no longer a member of a small but important group. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

Assemblyman Eric Stevenson has been arrested for corruption, but he has not resigned.

If he was back in Albany Monday, he did not set foot in the Assembly chamber.

"I haven't seen Assemblyman Stevenson here. I don't believe he is here today," Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said."

With calls for ethics reform, and even changes in the criminal code to fight corruption, lawmakers tried to get back to business as usual at the state capitol, but the mood was anything but normal.

State Sen. Malcolm Smith, who was also arrested, was in effect kicked out of the Independent Democratic Conference.

Some wondered if that meant he is now part of the mainline Democrats.

"He left our conference. That much I know," Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrew Stewart-Cousins said. "He left on his own volition."

Democrats were not eager to welcome Smith back.

"This is obviously a very unique situation," Stewart-Cousins said. "But again, I don't foresee the senator coming back to our conference."

For his part, Smith said he still has work to do.

"I'm still in the chamber," Smith said. "I have to go in there and still do my job."

But some Democrats said if Smith is no longer a member of the IDC, then the governing coalition in the senate should have fewer committee assignments and staff.

"This is a little unique because in the past, the makeup has not always been in the rules," Deputy Republican Conference Leader Tom Libous said. "It was just a determination, back then, made by the majority leader."

The rejection by both the IDC and Senate Democrats renders Smith a man without a conference.

Technically speaking, he is still an elected official by his constituents in Queens, so he will maintain his Senate seat for now.

It's unclear if the Senate has the appetite to take disciplinary action against him.

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