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NYPIRG crunches numbers on 2011 session

ALBANY -- Bill Mahoney, the Excel Wizard, is out with an analysis of the 2011 legislative session that shows all sorts of fun facts about lawmakers and their bill introduction workload, number of votes they missed and how often they voted with their party leaders.

The numbers by Mahoney, a researcher at the New York Public Interest Research Group show, for instance, that Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, a Buffalo Democrat, voted 98 percent the same way on bills as Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat. Assemblyman Mark Schroeder, a Buffalo Democrat who has had very public battles with Silver for several years, still ended up voting 96 percent of the time with Silver.

Meanwhile, Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, a Kenmore Democrat and a longtime committee chairman, voted the same as Silver on 94 percent of the bills. The dissent included this year's budget votes, which Schimminger pushed against; it cost him a seat at the negotiating table during the spring's public conference sessions between the two houses.

The most reliable same-as-leader voter from Western New York in the GOP conference in the Republican-led Senate? Freshman Sen. Mark Grisanti, a Buffalo Republican, voted the same as Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos 99.47 percent of the time. One of his few breakaway votes? The gay marriage bill that Grisanti is getting praised by gay rights groups but pilloried by conservatives.

The numbers show 677 same-as bills passed the two houses this year.

The overall analysis is here. The specific individual lawmaker analysis is here.

-- Tom Precious

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