Senate Dems claim quorum, start passing bills

(AP) - New York Senate Democrats have begun votingon a host of bills and declaring them passed after claiming that aRepublican lawmaker walking through the chamber gave them therequired quorum.

The gambit is the latest in a power struggle that has paralyzedthe Senate for three weeks.

Sen. Frank Padavan, a Queens Republican, acknowledges he walkedthrough the chamber because the Senate parlor had been blocked off.But he says the Democrats' claim to a quorum is a fraud.

A Republican-led coup on June 8 split the Senate 31-31. A judgeordered GOP senators into the special session ordered by Gov. DavidPaterson to deal with important legislation, including extensionsof several measures set to expire at midnight Tuesday. Republicanshave appealed that order.

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