Cuomo: Appointment of Lt. Gov. not the answer to Senate controversy

By John O'Brien | Jul 6, 2009


ALBANY, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said Monday that appointing a lieutenant governor to help break the state Senate's stalemate would cause unnecessary litigation.

Nearly a month has gone by since the GOP turned two Democratic senators, resulting in a Senate of 31 Republicans and 31 Democrats that has done little work since then. Recent ideas to break the situation included Gov. David Paterson appointing a lieutenant governor.

That would give the Senate a new presiding officer who could break the tie. Paterson, a Democrat, served as lieutenant governor until then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer stepped down amidst a prostitution scandal last year.

Cuomo, also a Democrat, says state law requires the temporary president of the Senate to perform the duties of the lieutenant governor.

"(W)e understand the apparent political convenience of the proponents' theory due to the current Senate circumstances," Cuomo said. "In our view, however, it is not constitutional.

"In addition, contrary to the proponents' goal, we believe it would not provide long-term political stability but rather the opposite, by involving the governor in a political ploy that would wind through the courts for many months."

According to a Fox News report, the stalemate, which started June 8, has cost taxpayers more than $94,000 while several state statutes have expired.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at john@legalnewsline.com.

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