State legislators might have a pay raise on the table, provided that they also pass some other legislation that Governor Cuomo is asking them to pass, including a series of ethics reforms. Or, depending on who you believe, that's not the case at all and Albany legislators would never dream of such a pay-for-play scenario.

The trouble started yesterday, when the News reported that legislators were talking about convening a special session of the Assembly and State Senate, in way that made it look like they were trading the creation of a full-time legislature and a series of ethics reforms for a chance at a pay raise. According to the report, the special session would bring back the Pay Commission that recently decided against a raise for legislators, which would be their first since 1999. In mid-November, two appointees to the commission placed there by the governor said they wouldn't approve a pay raise without the legislators voting to ban outside income.

Seizing on the fact that SOMEONE leaked alleged plans about a special session that would only benefit legislators, Governor Cuomo needled the legislature at an appearance in Rochester, telling reporters, "That’s very nice you want to come back to give yourself a raise... but there’s also some work we want to do for the public."

Governor Cuomo's spokesperson Rich Azzopardi also put out a press release that led with "The legislators are clearly interested in returning to reauthorize a Pay Commission," before going on to list a series of laws and reforms Cuomo wanted to see get done if the session happened. They include funding for the Hate Crimes Task Force the governor proposed, passing legislation that changes legislative terms from two years to four years and also limits legislators and statewide officials to eight years in office and reducing campaign contribution limits.

Legislators have denied the special session will be taking place, however. The press secretary for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie immediately tweeted that the report was untrue, in the most aggressive way possible, all caps:

Carl Heastie himself also denied the report, in a tweet and then a statement in which he said that the Legislature wouldn't be deciding any of the issues "on a whim" and that he has "no idea who the governor is talking to about these issues, but it certainly isn't me:"

"You’re basically holding a pay increase over making sure you do what he wants with respect to reform. That’s not the way government should run,” State Senator John DeFrancisco said in an interview according to Politico.

Elsewhere in state government dysfunction, a fight over a State Senate seat in Long Island is getting nasty, as the very slight lead a Democratic candidate holds could give the party a numerical (if not parliamentary) advantage in the Senate. Democratic candidate John E. Brooks currently holds a 41-vote lead over incumbent Republican Michael Venditto in the State Senate's Eighth District. Both parties are challenging votes for each candidate, with Republican lawyers challenging 750 Democratic ballots and Democrats challenging the validity of 360 Republican ballots.

The challenge from Republicans involves trying to strike a number of ballots from minority areas of the district, according to Newsday:

Senate Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy criticized Republicans for objecting to a high number of ballots in minority areas that tend to vote Democrat, including Freeport, Roosevelt and Amityville.

Reif said the Republican objections are “legitimate,” adding that Democrats objected to the ballots of disabled GOP voters, arguing their signatures don’t match those in registration books.

Even if Brooks manages to hold on to his victory and Democrats technically wind up with 32 elected members in the Senate compared to 31 for Republicans, the party still won't necessarily control it. Registered Democrat Simcha Felder, a State Senator who represents a swath of southern Brooklyn, began to caucus with Republicans almost immediately after being elected in 2012 and continues to do so today.

There's also the case of the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of seven State Senators elected as Democrats who broke off to form their own group, previously joined the Senate's Republican caucus, and hasn't guaranteed they'll caucus with Democrats next year. And you thought Game of Thrones has only one season left, folks.