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Suffolk Democrats to leave aides home

When the Suffolk legislature's majority Democrats meet today for the first time in 2011, they will be without legislative aides, who often keep the discussions fact-based. The caucus voted at an earlier, organizational meeting to exclude them. "There are times if it's just legislators, we can have a more open and forthright discussion than if there are a dozen legislative aides there," said Majority Leader Jon Cooper (D-Lloyd Harbor). "We'll see whether we survive without them." GOP aides are barred from meetings at party headquarters, but not at the legislature in Hauppauge. Democrats were irritated when information leaked from supposedly secret meetings - though it typically came from lawmakers. Still allowed in: Terry Pearsall, chief of staff to Presiding Officer William Lindsay, and Paul Perillie, Cooper's majority caucus aide.- Reid J. Epstein

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