Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Skelos 8 Runs and Hides on Equal Pay for Women

When Senator Craig Johnson brought his gender pay equity bill to the floor for a Motion to Petition, Skelos, Fuschillo, Marcellino and Hannon got the heck out of there. A Motion to Petition is a means to get a bill out of committee and all it needs is a simple vote.
Why doesn't Fuschillo want to vote on and discuss equal pay for women?
Does Skelos have a problem with women making as much as men for the same job?
Does Marcellino want women to be paid less than men in New York State?
Why won't Hannon stand up for women workers??

The Albany Times-Union was there....
" Here’s the final chapter in Irene’s video odyssey that started Monday when she was attempting to video the Senate but was asked to leave when she shouldn’t have been.

We straightened that out and I came and taped what is a time-honored tactic used by Senators who don’t want to go on record as voting against something: leaving the chamber when another lawmaker calls for a motion to petition, which if approved, would move a bill out of committee to the floor for a vote.

The catch is, it takes a simple majority of the 62 senators in what is essentially a non-role call vote to move to petition. So if lawmakers don’t like the measure being petitioned, but fear it may look bad to oppose it, they can simply leave the chamber when the motion comes for a vote.
Thus Tuesday’s near-empty chamber.
The voice you hear is Long Island Democrat Craig Johnson calling for a motion to petition on a gender pay equity bill. Joe Robach, a Republican from the Rochester area, was on the spot yesterday, as he had earlier said he’d support such a bill but instead voted with the rest of the senate to study the measure (which is controversial among business supporters) for a year."

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Skelos Doesn't Want You to See What He Does in the Senate

The Albany-Times Union reporter Irene jay Liu was video taping procedings of the Senate and was told to turn off her camera. Even though it is perfectly legal for her to be taping.

The debate got heated and increasingly tense. I was recording the goings-on throughout the debate. In the beginning (before things got heated), I was told by one security fellow that I needed to turn off the camera. Then he came back and told me that he forgot that I was press, and said that I could turn it back on.I switched to the balcony on the other side of the chamber for a better angle to video the Republicans (shooting the back of someone’s head is not interesting). Sen. Craig Johnson is in the middle of the chamber, so I could shoot him easily from both sides.I showed my press ID, went in, and shot video. The debate grew increasingly tense, and some Republican Senators became visibly upset at the proceedings.

Sen. Dean Skelos accused a Senate Democrat staffer of shooting video from the floor of the chamber - which a Democratic staffer denied.
Sen. George Maziarz even took a shot at Johnson, saying “We crossed a line when we make cheap political shots…it is very hard to go back…don’t make this into a county legislature…” Johnson served as a Nassau County legislator before winning a seat in the Senate."

"Now, in case this is the first time you are hearing my voice, I am usually a pretty nice person and don’t sound nearly so tense or rude. But censorship gets my goat and I was pretty sure that I was allowed to tape up on the balcony, mostly because I had done so many other times before.

For example, when the Senate Democrats decided not to go into the chamber to vote on budget bills a week ago, in protest of what they called a non-transparent process, no one had a problem with my taking photos of the half-empty chamber or shooting the Republican senators’ speeches criticizing their Democratic colleagues.

We checked in with the Senate Republicans about whether we can shoot video from the balconies and they confirmed that in fact, it was allowed. Spokesman Mark Hansen explained, “It was a miscommunication.”

I’ve asked for a tape of the proceedings, and Hansen said he’d get back to me. Haven’t heard anything yet"

Here's the video:

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Not So Fast With that Victory Lap

Undoubtedly Skelos and the 'Long Island 8' will be shouting from the rooftops that Long Island is getting alot more money for the schools.
And that is true.
BUT once again there is no formula for school aid that will codify the amount Long Island will get. Year after year it will be a "fight" to make sure that schools are funded properly. And truth be told, the schools are still not being funded "fairly" or "fully." It's time to stop celebrating mediocrity and actually get real education funding reform done.
The problem we are facing with the George "Herbert Hoover" Bush economy is that the revenue the state is counting on to fund the spending bills might not be there. And next year could even be worse. Comptroller DiNapoli warns "The economy is in rough shape, and the worst may still be around the corner... The Division of the Budget is going to have to track spending and revenues very carefully. And Albany should keep an eraser handy.”

This is an eyes wide open comment that needs to be heard. There is no guarantee the money allocated will be available. And school districts and taxpayers should be prepared for that.

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