Why is this budget season different from all other recent budget seasons?

For starters, there has not been the much-derided three-men-in-a-room meetings that have dominated the budget discussions and the incremental coverage of the negotiations.

Instead, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has been shuttling back and forth between the governor’s office. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has taken the unusual step of pitching his disclosure measures to the Senate Republican conference in person and on their turf on the third floor.

Cuomo has apparently been conducting some discussions over the phones as well and has spoken with individual lawmakers in person as well in breakfast sessions.

The budget talks, in short, have been conducted seemingly in different silos: Senate Republicans talking disclosure, Assembly Democrats negotiating education reforms.

But with that new structure come some disagreement with what’s going on and what’s actually on the table. Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos on Thursday said a minimum wage increase was out of the budget. Heastie denied that was the case.

Having budgets discussed behind closed doors with just the governor and legislative majority leaders has long been a staple of Albany and a source of derision. Former state Sen. Seymour Lachman called Albany a “Potemkin village.”

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara last month mocked the budget talks.

Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins has conducted a growing campaign to get herself into the room, and Cuomo would likely want to avoid the image of a black woman being locked out of the office (the Yonkers Democrat has apparently met in person with the governor, but not as part of the broader talks with the other leaders).

But increasingly this year, legislative leaders appear to be defusing their power and negotiating authority to individual members.

Rank-and-file lawmakers in the Assembly and Senate are in working groups developing policy in the budget, especially on education and ethics.

The negotiations do not appear to be falling apart like they did several times last year, and while legislative leaders may not be completely up on the minimum wage discussions, the knowledge of their members, to a greater degree than before, has been tapped into.