Prof. Eric Lane in Newsday

Eric Lane, Eric J. Schmertz Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Public Service, was quoted in the following Newsday article.

Debate over validity of 99 bills voted on by Senate
By James T. Madore
June 24, 2009

Kiernan and others blamed senators for holding dueling sessions. Kiernan said they should have quickly opened and closed the special session, and then convened a regular session to vote on the Assembly bills. If this had occurred, he said, “there wouldn’t be any legal ambiguity, they would be valid laws.”

Experts also clarified the issue of the 14 votes being unanimous, though 30 Republicans and one rebel Democrat weren’t in the chamber.

Under Senate rules, members establish a quorum by signaling to an attendance clerk upon entering the chamber. Another count isn’t taken unless requested by a member, said Eric Lane, a Hofstra University law professor who worked for Senate Democrats in the 1980s.

Senators are assumed to be voting “yes” on “noncontroversial” bills unless they voice objection or a slow roll call is requested, he said.

Tuesday’s bills were deemed noncontroversial. There was no slow roll call or second quorum verification.

One point isn’t disputed: Bill adoption requires 32 votes in the 62-member Senate.

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