Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shortly before noon on Tuesday, as Democrats prepared to convene what they expected to be another fruitless one-party session, they saw Frank Padavan, a Queens Republican, walk through the rear of the chamber.
Mr. Padavan would later say he had simply been taking a shortcut to the members' lounge to grab a cup of coffee. But to the 31 Democrats in the chamber, that did not matter. Claiming that Mr. Padavan's brief presence gave them the 32-member quorum required to gavel the Senate into session, Democrats began ramming through dozens of measures, including sales tax extensions and bond authorizations that were set to expire at midnight.By the time the Democrats adjourned, Mr. Padavan's coffee run had thrust the Capitol into a new round of recriminations and legal debate. Democrats insisted that the bills had been lawfully passed, Republicans denounced the session as fraudulent and inappropriate, and Gov. David A. Paterson suggested that he would not sign the bills into law.
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