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An upstate Republican said Tuesday that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo acted dictatorial -- like Hitler and Mussolini and Vladimir Putin -- for rapidly forcing a controversial gun-control law through the state Legislature last month.
Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R-Melrose) ripped the Democratic governor for pushing through the bill -- which was brought for a vote shortly after it was printed.
“Hitler would be proud. Mussolini would be proud. Moscow would be proud,” McLaughlin said at a State Capitol news conference. “But that’s not democracy . . . He's acting like a dictator."
“How does Putin act over in Russia?” McLaughlin later added, referring to Russia President Vladimir Putin. Russian lawmakers, McLaughlin continued: “They rubber-stamp.”
[Update: McLaughlin issued an apology for the “Hitler” remark. He posted a video on his YouTube page: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLmHTzQgHfQ&feature=youtu.be ]
The governor’s office didn’t immediately comment.
Michael Whyland, spokesman for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) called the comparison “highly offensive.” Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) said the remarks were “inappropriate.”
McLaughlin, along with a number of other Republican legislators, bashed Cuomo for waiving the normal three-day waiting period between printing and allowing a vote on a bill – which toughened New York’s gun laws in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school massacre. Instead, Cuomo used a so-called “message of necessity,” which allows a bill to be voted on immediately -- and thus little public debate.
McLaughlin joined with Sen. Greg Ball (R-Patterson) and other rank-and-file GOP legislators to introduce a bill that would limit the use of a “message of necessity” to true emergencies, such as a hurricane or a terrorist attack. Late night votes would be disallowed.
Cuomo’s reliance on messages of necessity have broken his vow to make government more transparent and are a return to a “backroom maneuver that has been a hallmark of Albany before today,” Ball said.
Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R-Schenectady) said the use of messages of necessity prevents legislators from acting as an independent third branch of government, and keeps the public and the press in the dark.