Updated 07/10/2009 10:04 PM
Paterson Pushes For September Vote On Same-Sex Marriage
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Governor David Paterson will push the State Senate to vote on same-sex marriage during a special session in early September.
A spokesman for the governor said on Friday that the State Senate is currently not in the right mindset to take up the issue.
The governor said he believes that marriage equality is an important civil rights issue and he will work with Senate leaders to move the process forward in the fall.
While the newly-functional State Senate passed more than 100 bills overnight Friday, lawmakers did not immediately take up more controversial measures like mayoral control of city schools or a bill allowing same-sex marriage.
On Thursday, State Senator Pedro Espada Jr. ended the month-long Senate stalemate the same way he started it, by switching sides. By rejoining the Democratic party, Espada restored the Senate's Democratic majority of 32-30.
Under the Senate's new agreement, Espada is now senate majority leader, former Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith remains Senate president and Senator John Sampson became the Democratic conference leader.
A bill that allows the city to increase its sales tax by a half-percent passed by a vote of 43-19 Friday.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that the increased sales tax will allow him to end the hiring freeze he put in place earlier this week, and provide the city with the revenue needed to begin hiring police officers, firefighters, traffic agents and other personnel.
"The main thing was passing the sales tax so that we can now go ahead and I will unfreeze the hiring freeze that we had," said the mayor on Friday. "We still have to watch, we have big problems down the road, so we're not hiring willy-nilly."
Senate leaders also say they have come up with a framework for rules reform.
Lawmakers will convene again on Wednesday, July 15.
Meanwhile, the battle over Paterson's decision to appoint Richard Ravitch as lieutenant governor is on hold until next Wednesday.
Ravitch told NY1 political anchor Dominic Carter that he would not be affected by if the judge ruled against the appointment.
"I wouldn't be embarrassed at all and I have children and grand children who might even be very pleased. But the fact of the matter is seriously, Dominic, I do not have an independent legal view," said Ravitch. "This has been a crazy, busy week, and the governor has selected one of the great constitutional lawyers in the country, Kathleen Sullivan."
Lawyers for Espada and Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos, who view Ravitch's appointment as unconstitutional, and Kathleen Sullivan, the governor's counsel, told the judge Friday they needed more time to prepare their arguments.