Republicans To Take Another Crack At Marriage Bill

Senate Republicans are expected to take another crack at the same-sex marriage bill this morning, meeting at around 10 a.m. to discuss whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s measure should be brought to the floor for a vote.

Wednesday’s nearly four hour discussion led to nothing but Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos addressing a mob of reporters to say that they needed more time to hash out the issue.

And, adding a new element to what’s expected to be an already chaotic day, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office announced this morning that he will travel to Albany to meet with the Republican conference at 11:30 a.m. to discuss the same-sex marriage bill.

There are multiple Republicans who are publicly undecided on the issue, including Sens. Greg Ball, Mark Grisanti, Steve Saland and Andrew Lanza.

And speaking of Greg Ball, who illicited a harsh statement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office for his interpretation of the same-sex marraige bill, here’s the Hudson Valley Republican discussing his issues with Liz on Wednesday night’s show.

How The Assembly Voted

The Democratic-led Assembly approved Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s same-sex marriage bill Wednesday night, 80-63.

While that was one of the closest margins in the measure’s history, the bill did include several Democrats flipping to the “yes” column — including Democrats Nick Perry and Karim Camara. And it is also attributable to several Democrats in the Assembly leaving their posts to join the Cuomo administration.

Marriage Equality 13 Jun 11

Stayin’ Alive With CPR

Advocates of a bill that would require that high schoolers learn CPR staged a “flash mod” at a Price Chopper in Niskayuna last night, with participants demonstrating their life-saving skills by compressing in time to the BeeGee’s hit, “Stayin’ Alive.”

There were even a few dance moves thrown in for good measure. It must have taken non-participating shoppers a bit by surprise.

The bill in question would not mandate certified CPR instruction for high school students, but rather teach them the simpler “hands only” method that has been shown to be effective and does not require more than a single class period to teach.

“I’m alive because someone knew CPR,” said Averill Park resident Kelly Crupi, who participated in last night’s event, organized by the American Heart Association.

“I came home from work in October 2009, and collapsed with sudden cardiac arrest. Fortunately, my mother was right there, and she knows CPR. I hope the state Legislature will pass the CPR in High Schools law (S2491/A3980), which would create a new generation of lifesavers by teaching all New York high school students CPR.”

The bill was voted out of the state Senate Education committee on Monday, and is now before the Finance Committee. In the past week, there have been similar flash mobs in Rochester and Buffalo. Apparently, more may be on the way. They certainly beat your run-of-the-mill press conference.

‘Staten Island Fairy’??

Jon Stewart upped the pressure still further last night on “undecided” same-sex marriage voter Sen. Andrew Lanza, a Staten Island Republican.

“This could take a while,” Stewart said. “Staten Island Republican, eh? I guess gay marriage rests on whether this guy is willing to be called the Staten Island fairy for the rest of his life. But you know what? It’s good news. Moving in the right direction.”

Here And Now

The Assembly passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage for the fourth time last night. The vote was closer than in years past – 80 to 63 – in part due to the four vacant seats in the Democratic conference and increases on the GOP side of the aisle.

“We are on the verge of a pinnacle moment for this state,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement after the Assembly vote.

The Senate Republicans are scheduled to return behind closed doors at 10 a.m. to pick up where they left off yesterday in their own gay marriage debate.

Meanwhile, the rent laws have been expired now for just over seven hour. The Assembly passed the 48-hour extension bill last night, but it failed in the Senate.

That’s thanks in large part to the Democrats, who refused to vote “yes”, insisting an extension will give the GOP an out and fail to produce the stronger laws they’re seeking. So, it’s back to the drawing board on that one. The governor issued lawmakers an ultimatum: Get a deal on the rent laws, or don’t go home.

More headlines:

The gay marriage bill is at the center of “furious horse trading” at the Capitol, with everything from SUNY tuition to the rent laws to the tax cap in play.

Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto said no further changes are being considered to the governor’s program bill.

Jon Stewart got into the gay marriage mix by highlighting Staten Island Sen. Andrew Lanza, who is considered a potential key vote.

Senators who oppose same-sex marriage are reportedly split over whether it should come to the floor – if only to put this whole issue behind them in a non-election year.

First Girlfriend Sandra Lee’s brother is gay.

Sen. Jim Alesi is taking a political gamble with his “yes” vote.

“If I take the Catholic out of me, which is hard to do, then absolutely they should have these rights,” said Sen. Mark Grisanti, who is still in the “undecided” column.

So far, the Times is giving legislators an “F for diligence.”

The National Enquirer splashed photos of Rep. Anthony Weiner in drag on its cover. The shots date back to his sophomore year at SUNY Plattsburgh.

More >

Rent Laws Extension Voted Down In Senate

The Republican-led Senate voted down an extension of rent-control laws for New York City late tonight by a wide margin, 43-14.

Though several lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were not present, the lopsided vote shows neither party had much interest in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s emergency extension measure which was approved by the Assembly earlier this evening.

The measure would have extended the laws into Friday at 3 p.m.

Even though rent control for the city and some suburban areas expires at midnight, Cuomo released a statement saying the impact of a few days without extensions would be minimal. Rent laws have expired and left hanging for several days only to be taken up again.

But at the same time, Cuomo has said he would keep the Legislature in Albany in order to get his preferred expansion of the laws approved. The session is scheduled to end Monday, however there’s been some talk among rank-and-file legislators about staying into Tuesday or even Wednesday.

With so much happening this week — trying to lock down a same-sex marriage vote in the Senate — and having tied rent control to a contentious property tax cap, these issues may not be resolved by the end of this week.

Assembly Passes Marriage But, But Tally Is Low

The Assembly passed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s same-sex marriage this evening, 80-63, the lowest margin in the four years it’s been put to a vote in the Democratic-led chamber.

Republicans had predicted earlier today that a vote could have been in jeopardy, or least not a landslide, thanks to 10 GOP gains in 2010. At the same time, several Democratic lawmakers had joined the Cuomo administration leaving multiple vacancies.

The bill now moves to the state Senate, where it’s passage is far from certain. There are thirty-one votes in favor of the bill now that two Republicans have said they would back the measure. Several GOP lawmakers are on the fence publicly and have said broader religious exemptions are needed.

The very lengthy debate in the Assembly began around 5 p.m. this afternoon and concluded after 9 p.m.

The debate featured openly gay Assemblyman Matthew Titone of Staten Island saying he wants to get married as soon as possible, but needs to save up the money first. Sitting next to him was Sen. Diane Savino, who became an Internet star after delivering an impassioned speech in favor of the bill.

“Look to the future and protect your legacy as a human being,” he said.

Republicans and some Democrats, however, argued that the bill would redefine the traditional view of marriage.

Noting that pop star Lady Gaga supported same-sex marriage, Assemblyman Dov Hikind said sarcastically, “When Lady Gaga got involved and told us and said we should support gay marriage, I said, you know, Lady Gaga, she is an example of how I should lead my life and how I should behave.”

New Yorkers United for Marriage, the coalition of advocacy groups pushing the measure, released a statement on the vote saying,

“New Yorkers United for Marriage applauds Speaker Silver, Assemblymember O’Donnell and their colleagues for once again affirming that all New Yorkers should be able to marry the person they love. We are heartened and gratified by the Assembly’s unwavering commitment to marriage equality and will never forget their leadership on this important issue. We call on the Senate to allow a vote on marriage so that we can make history in the Empire State.”

Cuomo Admin: Ball Wrong On Gay-Marriage Bill

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s spokesman Josh Vlasto sent over a statement this evening responding to Sen. Greg Ball saying he would vote against the current same-sex marriage bill as it’s written, saying that he mischaracterizes the measure.

“Senator Ball can decide to vote with the conservatives against the bill but his characterization and description of the bill is just plain wrong. Senator Ball is entitled to his own politics but not his own facts.”

Ball told me earlier today that, “I’m not going to vote for something that shutsdown Catholic adoption agencies, or open religious organizations to being sued.”

Ball says the bill does not sufficiently provide protections for religious institutions and individuals, as well as businesses. His concerns seem to conflict with laws already on the books for human rights violations, making such language he would appear to want unconstitutional.

Ball said on Tuesday — the day the bill was introduced by Cuomo — that he wanted to see stronger exemptions, but would take the bill back to members of the religious community.

Rent Laws To Be Extended Until Friday At 3

The Republican-led Senate is poised to approve a measure that would extend rent control and current rent laws for New York City through 3 p.m. Friday. The Assembly is also expected to take up the bill.

The bill can be read here.

The move came after Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced the measure in the Assembly and Senate with a message of necessity in order to avoid the three-day waiting period.

The 3 p.m. deadline is friendly to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who observes the Jewish sabbath at sundown on Friday.

The measure is sure to hotly debated this evening by Senate Democrats who oppose the measure. While it sailed through the Senate Rules Committee with hardly a peep from Democrats, Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson, who represents parts of The Bronx and Mount Vernon, foreshadowed a lengthy debate.

When aske by Sen. Tom Libous if there were any questions, she responded: “Yeah, about a hundred – but I won’t ask them.”

Cuomo has vowed to keep legislators in Albany until his desired rent control — which would be an expansion of the current laws — is achieved.

Senate Republicans had introduced a variety of rent bills, which mostly kept the current laws in place.

Ball: As It Stands Now, I’m A No

Sen. Greg Ball, R-Putnam County, said in an interview today that he’d vote no on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s same-sex marriage as it’s proposed.

“At this point, on this bill, I would absolutely vote no,” Ball said. “I’m not going to vote for something that shutsdown Catholic adoption agencies, or open religious organizations to being sued.”

This is a bit of a change from Tuesday, when Ball suggested the exemptions for religious institutions was “thorough” but he still had some concerns about the protections for businesses and individuals.

Ball, who has a hired videographer trailing him at the Capitol today, reiterated his concerns from a news release earlier in the day that he remains concerned about the impact of same-sex marriage on businesses and religious institutions.

“This is the perfect example of a social issue that’s controlled by the extreme left and the extreme right,” Ball said.