Gov. David Paterson today took the unusul step of revoking two proclamations for extraordinary legislative sessions issued on January 17 and June 26, saying the move “lays to rest spurious claims by both the Assembly and Senate that any prior extraordinary session convened by gubernatorial proclamation remains in progress.”

Legislative leaders have argued that they’ve kept alive the last extraordinary session by gaveling in and out of it every single work day (a task that falls to local elected officials like Albany Assemblyman Jack McEneny, who must physically show up for this to work).

By doing so, lawmakers claim they might be able to prevent the governor from calling them back to Albany against their will, reasoning it’s illegal for him to call two concurrent extraordinary sessions.

That doesn’t sit well with Paterson, who has been striving to get back the upper hand ever since the two houses cut him out of the budget process shortly before July 4.

“It is clear to me that this Legislature would rather play parliamentary games than finish a budget that is fifteen weeks late due to their inaction,” Paterson said in a press release (he was on vacation in the Hamptons, last I checked).

“I cannot and will not allow politics to triumph over leadership in the most critical of times for our state. This is a silly charade, and the idea that the Legislature has been in extraordinary session for the last 185 days – ostensibly to discuss ‘Race to the Top’ legislation – is absurd.”

“The Legislature has a duty to finish the budget and address other critical matters before the State, and I will exercise my constitutional authority to bring them all back to Albany, even if it is an election year.”

Paterson didn’t give a date for the next extraordinary session, which he has been threatening to call ever since the Senate left Albany without passing the revenue bill – the final piece necessary for a fully completed budget.

The governor argues that the a review of the legislative record makes it “clear” that neither house has actually been in the 120 days worth of extraordinary sessions they are purporting to have called, noting the two chambers were virtually empty on those days, with no “session” lasting beyond a minute or two and no actual business taking place.

“It is plainly obvious from the facts here that these so-called ‘sessions’ are a charade designed to nullify the Governor’s authority under the Constitution,” Paterson’s counsel Peter Kiernan said.

“The Legislature wishes to arrogate for itself the right simply to disregard future gubernatorial calls for extraordinary session by deliberately claiming to continue a prior extraordinary session.”

“This contortion of the Governor’s long-recognized constitutional authority lacks a basis in law and must be recognized for what it truly is – a political maneuver to frustrate the Governor’s efforts in convening the Legislature to address politically unpopular, yet critically important issues of public policy.”

“The Constitution does not permit the Legislature to usurp gubernatorial authority in this manner.”

UPDATE: Paterson spokesman Morgan Hook sent this background memo on the governor’s authority to convene extraordinary sessions.