State Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) was absent in Albany more than all his colleagues in the chamber, except for Sen. Adriano Espaillat (D-Washington Heights), who was mounting an unsuccessful bid for Congress.
But Smith was among the Senate’s top 10 drafters of resolutions adopted by both houses, the New York Public Interest Research Group’s review of the 2014 state legislative session found.
NYPIRG, a nonpartisan good government group, compiled an analysis of this year’s action in Albany. The report found lawmakers have sent fewer bills to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk than any state executive has received in the past century.
Smith was among seven senators who were absent and excused from at least 100 votes in 2014, NYPIRG’s report said.
Smith, who spent part of the session on trial in a federal corruption case, missed 808 votes. This put him directly behind Espaillat, an uptown Manhattan congressional hopeful who was not present during 891 votes.
Smith’s office said they believed his absences all occurred when he was in federal court and on trial for allegedly attempting to bribe his way onto the Republican line in the 2013 mayoral election.
In the Assembly, NYPIRG said four Queens lawmakers were among 18 who missed at least 150 votes, including Assembly members Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) with 275 excuses or absences; Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) with 264; Margaret Markey (D-Maspeth) with 172; and William Scarborough (D-Jamaica) with 168.
No Queens lawmaker made NYPIRG’s lists of Assembly and Senate members who prime sponsored the most legislation that made it through their respective chamber — or both. A prime sponsor is the lawmaker who first backs a measure in his or her house.
But Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) was among 11 senators who prime sponsored at least 150 active bills in 2014, according to the report.
Avella, a member of the Independent Democratic Conference that had split from mainline Democrats and controlled the Senate with Republicans, was only able to get eight of these measures through both chambers, NYPIRG said.