Just under the wire last week, the State Senate was able to pass a bill to make reforms to the Queens Library that would open up the books and make the Board of Trustees more accountable.
But that's only half the story. There were actually two competing bills in the State Senate, one sponsored by State Senator Michael Gianaris and one by State Senator Tony Avella, which had several more provisions than the Gianaris bill, which was co-sponsored by Assemblyman Jeff Aubrey.
Given the slightly bizarre power-sharing arrangement between the Republicans in the State Senate and a group of five Democrats – the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) – who work with them, it wasn't certain that Gianaris would have the political capital to get his bill to the floor for a vote during a chaotic last few days before the legislative session closed.
Avella, on the other hand, is a member of the IDC, so he has the political relationships to get a bill to the floor for a vote, but he wasn't completely on board with the Gianaris/Aubrey bill because he didn't think it went far enough in reforming the library system.
Let the political wrangling begin.
Things got little heated between the three pols last week, and you can read some of their strong statements in an article on our website. In the end, however, a compromise was reached and Avella took credit for brokering the deal and getting the bill passed. But others suggested that the bill that was passed wasn't much different than the bill Gianaris and Aubrey originally proposed.
So, even after all of the controversy over the two bills was overcome, there was still plenty of controversy over who did the most work and who gets the credit. To clear some of that up, we randomly received in our inbox a short Youtube clip of Gianaris thanking Avella (seated in the background) for all of his hard work on the bill.
Case settled, now we can all just sit back and enjoy our summer break!