As the Senate trudged along while most New Yorkers were already fast asleep early Friday morning, a Hudson Valley freshman senator was on the receiving end of some gentle, bipartisan razzing from his colleagues.
Sen. Terry Gipson, D-Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, has railed against what he calls “vampire bills”—legislation put to a vote late at night or in the wee hours of the morning, when the public is unlikely to be paying attention. It’s become his signature issue after he gained some attention in March when he repeatedly decried the late hour of the state’s budget vote.
Early Friday, Gipson passed his first piece of legislation, a one-house bill that would establish the date for elections to a fire district in Arlington, Dutchess County. And here’s the kicker: The bill passed at 1:15 a.m.
“Before I decide whether to vote, I just want to make sure Senate Gipson is not offended by the lateness of the hour in which his bill is passed,” said Sen. John DeFrancisco, a Syracuse Republican. “Since apparently he’s not offended, I vote ‘aye.’”
The bill passed unanimously. When Senate Deputy Democratic Leader Michael Gianaris pointed out it was Gipson’s first successful bill, the room erupted in a mix of laughter and applause.
“Senator DeFrancisco stole my laugh line,” Gianaris said. “I was going to point out the appropriateness that Senator Gipson’s very first bill is a vampire bill.”
Sen. Joseph Griffo, a Rome Republican who was presiding over the chamber at the time, chimed in with a final word: “Congratulations, Count Gipson!”
Gipson is a member of the Senate Democratic conference, while the chamber is run by the GOP and four breakaway Democrats. He has no say into when—or which—bills are put to a vote.