By Joseph Spector
Albany Bureau Chief
ALBANY, NY--- Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua, said Monday he plans no immediate action against Assemblyman Steve Katz, who was charged Thursday with marijuana possession and speeding.
Katz, R-Yorktown, Westchester County, didn't inform Kolb on Thursday after Katz was hit with the ticket on the state Thruway near Albany. Kolb told Gannett's Albany Bureau on Friday that he learned of the incident through the media. He said Monday he did talk to Katz after being contacted about the arrest by Gannett on Friday.
"We had a good conversation, and certainly I think what Steve wants to focus in on is moving forward, representing his district and then he'll deal with the infraction through the legal process," Kolb told reporters. Kolb declined to discuss details of the conversation.
Katz sits on several legislative committees, including the Assembly Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee. He receives a $9,000 stipend for serving as the ranking member on the Assembly Mental Health Committee. Lawmakers receive a base salary of $79,500.
Katz recently made news in WNY after he spoke on the Assembly floor and criticized $60 million in aid for the Buffalo Bill stadium, saying that only a "handful of people" go to the games. Last year, Katz admitted to a pair of past arrests related to his veterinary business decades ago.
Kolb said he would let the legal process play out before deciding on any legislative punishment for Katz, who was first elected in 2010. Katz is due in Coeymans Town Court on March 28.
"I'll let the process take its own course," Kolb said. "I want to see what the result of all that is, in fairness to him."
Katz, meanwhile, was nowhere to be found at the Capitol on Monday morning. He didn't go to his office in the morning, and he missed a noon press conference with his Assembly GOP colleagues to discuss their opposition to extending an energy tax.
Katz's spokesman, Joseph Ahearn, said Monday the assemblyman would have no further comment until his court date.
In a statement Friday, Katz called it an "unfortunate incident" and that he would continue his work.
"I am confident that once the facts are presented that this will quickly be put to rest," Katz said in the statement.