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New York State Senate
Type
Type Upper house
Leadership
President of the Senate Richard Ravitch[1], (D)
President Pro Tem Malcolm Smith (D)
Majority Leader Pedro Espada, (D)
Minority Leader Dean Skelos, (R)
Structure
Members 62
Political groups Democratic Party
Republican Party
Election
Last election November 4, 2008
Meeting place
Senate Chamber,
New York State Capitol, Albany, NY, U.S.
Website
http://NYSenate.gov/
The New York State Senate chamber.

The New York State Senate is one of two houses in the New York State Legislature and has members each elected to two-year terms.[2] There are no limits on the number of terms one may serve. The New York Constitution provides for a varying number of members in the Senate; the current membership is 62, elected from single-member constituencies equal in population.

Contents

Officers

For more information, see 2009 New York State Senate leadership crisis

The Senate is headed by its President, a post held ex officio by the State Lieutenant Governor. The Lieutenant Governor also casts the deciding vote in the event of a tie. The Senate President has only a casting vote. More often, the Senate is presided over by the Temporary President, a post which is normally also held by the Majority Leader. After the 2008 elections, the Senate had a Democratic majority for the first time since 1965.

The Senate has one additional member outside those who are elected by the people: the Secretary of the New York State Senate is a post that is chosen by a majority vote of the senators, and does not have voting power (he is allowed, though officially discouraged, from discussing and negotiating legislative matters). The Secretary of the Senate is responsible for overseeing the handling of bills and the oversight of the sergeants-at-arms and the stenographer, both of which are answerable to the secretary. The position is currently held by Angelo Aponte, who was elected to a two-year term in January 2009.

Position Name Party District
President of the Senate/Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch Dem
Temporary President Malcolm Smith Dem 14
Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. Dem 33
Democratic Conference Leader John L. Sampson Dem 17
Minority Leader Dean Skelos Rep 9
Deputy Minority Leader Thomas W. Libous Rep 52
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Full Majority leadership

  • Majority Leader: Sen. Pedro Espada
  • Democratic Conference Leader: Sen. John Sampson
  • Deputy Majority Leader for Legislative Affairs: Sen. Jeff Klein
  • Deputy Majority Leader for Intergovernmental Affairs: Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer
  • Deputy Majority Leader for Policy: Sen. Eric Schneiderman
  • Deputy Majority Leader for State/Federal Relations: VACANT
  • Senior Assistant Majority Leader: Sen. Martin Malave Dilan
  • Assistant Majority Leader for Conference Operations: Sen. Neil Breslin
  • Assistant Majority Leader for House Operations: Sen. William Stachowski
  • Democratic Conference Chairwoman: Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson
  • Democratic Program Development Committee Chairman: Sen. Tom Duane
  • Majority Whip: Sen. Antoine Thompson
  • Democratic Conference Vice Chairwoman: Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky
  • Democratic Conference Secretary: Sen. Jose Serrano
  • Democratic Steering Committee Chairwoman: Sen. Diane Savino
  • Assistant Majority Whip: Sen. Velmanette Montgomery
  • Vice President Pro Tempore: Sen. David Valesky

Full Minority leadership

  • Minority Leader: Sen. Dean Skelos
  • Deputy Minority Leader: Sen. Tom Libous
  • Assistant Minority Leader for Policy and Administration: Sen. Owen Johnson
  • Assistant Minority Leader for Floor Operations: Sen. Hugh Farley
  • Assistant Minority Leader for Intergovernmental Affairs: Sen. Vincent Leibell
  • Minority Republican Chairman: Sen. Kenneth LaValle
  • Minority Republican Vice Chairman: Sen. James Seward
  • Minority Republican Secretary: Sen. Kemp Hannon
  • Minority Whip: Sen. William Larkin
  • Deputy Minority Whip: Sen. Michael Nozzolio
  • Assistant Minority Whip: Sen. Stephen Saland
  • Minority Policy Committee Chairman: Sen. Thomas Morahan
  • Minority Program Development Committee Chairman: Sen. Betty Little

2008 elections and power struggle

For more information, see New York state elections, 2008

Democrats won 32 of 62 seats in New York's upper chamber in the 2008 General Election on November 4, capturing the majority for the first time in more than four decades.[3][4] Although New York has turned almost solidly Democratic at most levels, Republicans were able to hold onto the State Senate for all but one year from 1939 to 2008 because its apportionment traditionally favors the Upstate, where Republicans dominated until very recently. While the Democrats hold all but three seats in New York City, they hold only five seats in the Upstate and two seats on Long Island.

However, a power struggle emerged before the new term began. Four Democratic senators—Rubén Díaz (Bronx), Carl Kruger (Brooklyn), and Senators-elect Pedro Espada (Bronx) and Hiram Monserrate (Queens)—immediately refused to caucus with their party.[5] The self-named "Gang of Four" refused to back Malcolm Smith as the chamber's majority leader and sought concessions.[6] Monserrate soon reached an agreement with Smith that reportedly included the chairmanship of the Consumer Affairs Committee.[7] The remaining "Gang of Three" reached an initial compromise in early December that collapsed within a week,[8] but was ultimately resolved[9] with Smith becoming majority leader[10] until early June, 2009, when two Democrats joined with Republicans to elect a new leadership for the New York State Senate, reaching a power-sharing deal under which Republicans became, again, technically the majority party.

Republican reclamation and ensuing dispute

Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Total
Democratic Republican Vacant
End of previous legislature 29 31 60 2
Begin 32 30 62 0
June 8, 2009[11] 30 2 30
June 15, 2009[12] 31 1 30
July 9, 2009[13] 32
Latest voting share 51.6% 48.4%

Though there are still 32 Democrats and 30 Republicans in the Senate, on June 8, 2009, elected by the people of New York, Senators Hiram Monserrate (D-Queens) and Pedro Espada, Jr. (D-Bronx)—who were part of what was described by the Associated Press as a "parliamentary coup"—allegedly voted with the 30 Republican members to install Senator Dean Skelos (R-Nassau) as the new majority leader of the Senate, replacing Senator Malcolm Smith (D-Queens).[14][15]

The move came after Republican whip Tom Libous introduced a surprise resolution to vacate the chair and replace Smith as temporary president and majority leader. In an effort to stop the vote, Democratic whip Jeff Klein unilaterally moved to recess, and Smith had the lights and Internet cut off. However, they were unable to stop the session. All 30 Republicans plus two Democrats, Monserrate and Espada, voted in favor of the resolution. In accordance with a prearranged deal, Espada was elected temporary president and acting lieutenant governor while Skelos was elected majority leader.[16] Both Monserrate and Espada were members of the original "Gang of Four" (the other two being Ruben Diaz and Carl Kruger), a group of Democratic senators that threatened to defect to the Republican caucus to prevent Smith from taking control of the chamber in January 2009. Monserrate had backed out of the Gang at the time, being the first of the four to back Smith.

The apparent Republican seizure of power is tenuous in any event. Smith claims the vote was illegal because of Klein's motion to adjourn; parliamentary procedure stipulates that a vote to adjourn takes precedence over all other business. However, Smith, Klein, and most of the Democrats walked out before an actual vote to adjourn could be taken. Smith has also claimed that it is illegal to oust the majority leader in the middle of a two-year term, and as such, leaders can only be replaced at the beginning of a term, except in the case of death or resignation. Smith still asserts that he is majority leader and intends to challenge the vote in court. He has locked the doors of the state senate chambers in an effort to prevent any further legislative action.[17] The Espada-Skelos coalition majority, which is also courting as many as ten more Democrats,[18] announced plans hold sessions in the "Well" of the legislative office building until chamber doors are reopened.[19] By the time of the scheduled session on June 10 at 3:00 p.m., at the request of Governor David Paterson, the keys to the senate chamber were turned over to the coalition;[20] Smith has claimed that the coalition stole the key.[18] The scheduled session was eventually postponed.[18]

Additionally, both Monserrate and Espada faced accusations of unethical or criminal conduct. Monserrate was indicted for felony assault in March and would automatically lose his seat if convicted. New York, like most states, has a provision in its state constitution which bars convicted felons from holding office.[17] Espada is the target of a state investigation into whether he funded his campaign with money siphoned from a nonprofit health care agency he controls. The Bronx's district attorney is also investigating charges that Espada actually lives in Mamaroneck (ironically, the home of fellow Democratic state senator Suzi Oppenheimer rather than the north Bronx district he represents.[21]

As a result of the coup, Senate Democrats voted for John Sampson to replace Malcolm Smith as Democratic Leader. This led Hiram Monserrate to declare that he would once again caucus with the Democrats, which led to a 31-31 split. [22]

On July 9, 2009, a source stated that Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. would be rejoining the Senate Democratic Conference after reaching a deal to have Malcom Smith be pro tem for a while until a "transition period" occurs in which Senator Sampson would replace him, and Espada as the majority leader.[23]

Composition

Members of the Senate

District Senator Party First elected Residence
1 Kenneth LaValle Republican 1976 Port Jefferson
2 John J. Flanagan Republican 2002 East Northport
3 Brian X. Foley Democratic 2008 Blue Point
4 Owen H. Johnson Republican 1972 West Babylon
5 Carl Marcellino Republican 1995 Syosset
6 Kemp Hannon Republican 1989 Garden City
7 Craig Johnson Democratic 2007 Port Washington
8 Charles Fuschillo Republican 1998 Merrick
9 Dean Skelos Republican 1984 Rockville Centre
10 Shirley Huntley Democratic 2006 Jamaica
11 Frank Padavan Republican 1972 Bellerose
12 George Onorato Democratic 1983 Astoria
13 Hiram Monserrate Democratic 2008 Jackson Heights
14 Malcolm Smith Democratic 2000 St. Albans
15 Joseph Addabbo, Jr. Democratic 2008 Ozone Park
16 Toby Ann Stavisky Democratic 1999 Flushing
17 Martin Malave Dilan Democratic 2002 Bushwick
18 Velmanette Montgomery Democratic 1984 Brooklyn
19 John Sampson Democratic 1996 Brooklyn
20 Eric Adams Democratic 2006 Brooklyn
21 Kevin Parker Democratic 2002 Brooklyn
22 Martin Golden Republican 2002 Bay Ridge
23 Diane Savino Democratic 2004 Staten Island
24 Andrew Lanza Republican 2006 Staten Island
25 Dan Squadron Democratic 2008 Brooklyn
26 Liz Krueger Democratic 2002 New York
27 Carl Kruger Democratic 1994 Brooklyn
28 Jose M. Serrano Democratic 2004 Spanish Harlem
29 Thomas Duane Democratic 1998 New York
30 Bill Perkins Democratic 2006 Harlem
31 Eric Schneiderman Democratic 1998 Washington Heights
32 Rubén Díaz Democratic 2002 Soundview
33 Pedro Espada Democratic 2008 Mamaroneck
34 Jeffrey Klein Democratic 2004 Throgs Neck
35 Andrea Stewart-Cousins Democratic 2006 Yonkers
36 Ruth Hassell-Thompson Democratic 2000 Williamsbridge
37 Suzi Oppenheimer Democratic 1984 Mamaroneck
38 Thomas Morahan Republican 1999 Clarkstown
39 Bill Larkin Republican 1990 New Windsor
40 Vincent Leibell Republican 1994 Patterson
41 Stephen Saland Republican 1990 Poughkeepsie
42 John Bonacic Republican 1998 Mount Hope
43 Roy McDonald Republican 2008 Stillwater
44 Hugh Farley Republican 1976 Schenectady
45 Betty Little Republican 2002 Queensbury
46 Neil Breslin Democratic 1996 Albany
47 Joseph Griffo Republican 2006 Rome
48 Darrel Aubertine Democratic 2008 Cape Vincent
49 David Valesky Democratic 2004 Oneida
50 John DeFrancisco Republican 1992 Syracuse
51 James Seward Republican 1986 Milford
52 Thomas W. Libous Republican 1988 Binghamton
53 George H. Winner, Jr. Republican 2004 Elmira
54 Michael Nozzolio Republican 1992 Fayette
55 James Alesi Republican 1996 East Rochester
56 Joseph Robach Republican 2002 Greece
57 Catharine Young Republican 2005 Olean
58 William Stachowski Democratic 1981 Lake View
59 Dale Volker Republican 1975 Depew
60 Antoine Thompson Democratic 2006 Buffalo
61 Michael Ranzenhofer Republican 2008 Clarence
62 George D. Maziarz Republican 1995 Newfane

Committee leadership

Committee Chairs (Democratic)

  • Aging: Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr.
  • Agriculture: Sen. Darrel Aubertine
  • Banking: Sen. Brian Foley
  • Budget Reform Select Committee: Sen. Liz Krueger
  • Children and Families: Sen. Velmanette Montgomery
  • Cities: Sen. Daniel Squadron
  • Civil Service and Pensions: Sen. Diane Savino
  • Codes: Sen. Eric Schneiderman
  • Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business: Sen. William Stachowski
  • Consumer Protection: Sen. Hiram Monserrate
  • Corporations, Authorities and Commissions: Sen. Bill Perkins
  • Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections: Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson
  • Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation: Sen. Jose M. Serrano
  • Education: Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer
  • Elections: Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr.
  • Energy and Telecommunications: Sen. Darrel Aubertine
  • Environmental Conservation: Sen. Antoine Thompson
  • Ethics: Sen. John Sampson
  • Finance: Sen. Carl Kruger
  • Health: Sen. Tom Duane
  • Higher Education: Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky
  • Housing, Construction and Community Development: Sen. Pedro Espada
  • Insurance: Sen. Neil Breslin
  • Investigations and Governmental Operations: Sen. Craig Johnson
  • Judiciary: Sen. John Sampson
  • Labor: Sen. George Onorato
  • Local Government: Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins
  • Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities: Sen. Shirley Huntley
  • Racing, Gaming and Wagering: Sen. Eric Adams
  • Rules: Sen. Malcolm Smith
  • Rules and Administration Reform Temporary Committee: Sen. David Valesky and Sen. John Bonacic
  • Social Services: Sen. Velmanette Montgomery
  • Transportation: Sen. Martin Malave Dilan
  • Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs: Sen. Eric Adams
  • Administrative Regulatory Review Commission: TBA
  • Rural Resources Commission: TBA

Committee Vice Chairs

  • Vice Chairwoman of the Finance Committee: Sen. Liz Krueger
  • Vice Chairman of the Rules Committee: Sen. Pedro Espada

Committee ranking members (Republican)

  • Aging: Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer
  • Agriculture: Sen. Catherine Young
  • Banking: Sen. Hugh Farley
  • Budget Reform Select Committee: TBA
  • Children and Families: Sen. Roy McDonald
  • Cities: Sen. Andrew Lanza
  • Civil Service and Pensions: Sen. Andrew Lanza
  • Codes: Sen. Dale Volker
  • Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business: Sen. Jim Alesi
  • Consumer Protection: Sen. Steve Saland
  • Corporations, Authorities and Commissions: Sen. Bill Larkin
  • Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections: Sen. Martin Golden
  • Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation: Sen. Joe Griffo
  • Education: Sen. John Flanagan
  • Elections: Sen. Thomas Libous
  • Energy and Telecommunications: Sen. Mike Nozzolio
  • Environmental Conservation: Sen. Carl Marcellino
  • Ethics: Sen. Owen Johnson
  • Finance: Sen. John DeFrancisco
  • Health: Sen. Kemp Hannon
  • Higher Education: Sen. Ken LaValle
  • Housing, Construction and Community Development: Sen. John Bonacic
  • Insurance: Sen. Jim Seward
  • Investigations and Governmental Operations: Sen. George Winner
  • Judiciary: Sen. George Maziarz
  • Labor: Sen. Joseph Robach
  • Local Government: Sen. Betty Little
  • Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities: Sen. Tom Morahan
  • Racing, Gaming and Wagering: Sen. John Bonacic
  • Rules: Sen. Dean Skelos
  • Social Services: Sen. Roy McDonald
  • Transportation: Sen. Charles Fuschillo
  • Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs: Sen. Vincent Leibell

See also

References

  1. ^ The last elected Lt. Gov., David Paterson, succeeded to the governor's office upon Eliot Spitzer's resignation. Richard Ravitch was appointed by Gov. Paterson, which was upheld by the New York Court of Appeals.
  2. ^ "Branches of Government in New York State". New York State Senate, A Guide to New York State's Government. New York State Senate. 1988. http://www.senate.state.ny.us/sws/aboutsenate/branches_gov.html. Retrieved 2009-04-23.  
  3. ^ 2008 Election Results, New York State Board of Elections.
  4. ^ 2008-09 (Post-Election) Partisan Composition of State Legislatures National Conference of State Legislatures
  5. ^ New York Times. "Democrats Take State Senate." nytimes.com. Nov 5, 2008.
  6. ^ Peters, Jeremy W.Democrats Likely to Keep Control of State Senate, The New York Times, November 6, 2008.
  7. ^ Benjamin, Elizabeth. Monserrate Makes A Democratic Deal The Daily Politics. The Daily News November 8, 2008
  8. ^ Lanza, Michael. Smith Balks After ‘Gang of Three’ Talks The Queens Tribune December 11, 2008.
  9. ^ Democrats Reach Pact to Lead the Senate
  10. ^ Democrats Take Control of New York State Senate
  11. ^ Democratic Senators Pedro Espada, Jr. and Hiram Monserrate defected to give the Republicans a majority.
  12. ^ Hiram Monserrate returned to the Democratic caucus, following a vote to remove Malcolm Smith as Democratic Leader and replace him with John Sampson.
  13. ^ Democratic Senator Pedro Espada, Jr. rejoined the Democratic caucus after a deal for him to serve as Majority Leader.
  14. ^ "GOP, 2 Dems flip power balance in NY Senate", The Washington Post, June 8, 2009. Accessed June 8, 2009.
  15. ^ Odato, James. "Two Democrats join Republicans to topple Smith as Senate leader", Albany Times Union, June 8, 2009. Accessed June 8, 2009.
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ a b Peters, Jeremy, and Danny Hakim.Republicans Seize Control of State Senate. The New York Times, 2009-06-09.
  18. ^ a b c Bauman, Valerie. Senate stalls: Coalition says it's still strong. Associated Press. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
  19. ^ Benjamin, Elizabeth. Coalition government, Day One. New York Daily News "Daily Politics" blog. 2009-06-09.
  20. ^ http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/06/maverick_coalition_we_have_key.html
  21. ^ Salonstall, David. Sen. Pedro Espada hounded by questions on ethics and residency. New York Daily News, 2009-06-10.
  22. ^ Lovett, Kenneth (2009-06-15). State Senate standoff means even bigger mess with Sen. Hiram Monserrate's change of heart. New York Daily News Retrieved 2009-06-15.
  23. ^ Deadlock-Ending Deal Near? Espada To Return To The Democrats. New York Daily News Retrieved 2009-07-09.

External links


New York State Senate
Type
Type Upper house
Leadership
President of the Senate Richard Ravitch (duties suspended)[1]
President Pro Tem Malcolm Smith (D)
Majority Leader Pedro Espada, (D)
Minority Leader Dean Skelos, (R)
Structure
Members 62
Political groups Democratic Party
Republican Party
Election
Last election November 4, 2008
Meeting place
Senate Chamber,
New York State Capitol, Albany, NY, U.S.
Web site
http://NYSenate.gov/

The New York State Senate is one of two houses in the New York State Legislature and has members each elected to two-year terms.[2] There are no limits on the number of terms one may serve. The New York Constitution provides for a varying number of members in the Senate; the current membership is 62, elected from single-member constituencies equal in population.

Contents

Officers

The Senate is headed by its President, a post held ex officio by the State Lieutenant Governor. The Lieutenant Governor also casts the deciding vote in the event of a tie. The Senate President has only a casting vote. More often, the Senate is presided over by the Temporary President, a post which is normally also held by the Majority Leader. After the 2008 elections, the Senate had a Democratic majority for the first time since 1965.

The Senate has one additional member outside those who are elected by the people: the Secretary of the New York State Senate is a post that is chosen by a majority vote of the senators, and does not have voting power (he is allowed, though officially discouraged, from discussing and negotiating legislative matters). The Secretary of the Senate is responsible for overseeing the handling of bills and the oversight of the sergeants-at-arms and the stenographer, both of which are answerable to the secretary. The position is currently held by Angelo Aponte, who was elected to a two-year term in January 2009.

There is an ongoing dispute over the current leadership of the Senate. The righthand column in the table below indicates leadership positions as they were before the June 8, 2009 motions, which sought to elect Senator Pedro Espada as Temporary President and Senator Dean Skelos as Majority Leader. [3] The lefthand column in the table below indicates the leadership changes sought by these motions.

On June 11, 2009, Senator Malcolm A. Smith filed a lawsuit to enjoin Senator Pedro Espada from carrying out the functions of the Temporary Senate President. The New York State Senate has been providing a running update of the legal proceedings since June 11, 2009.

On July 8, 2009, Governor David Paterson took the unprecedented move of nominating a replacement lieutenant governor; Richard Ravitch was chosen. The nomination faces approval by a joint session of both houses of the legislature, and a potential legal challenge.

Democratic leadership

  • Majority Leader: Sen Pedro Espada
  • Democratic Leader: Sen. John Sampson
  • Deputy Majority Leader for Legislative Affairs: Sen. Jeff Klein
  • Deputy Majority Leader for Intergovernmental Affairs: Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer
  • Deputy Majority Leader for Policy: Sen. Eric Schneiderman
  • Deputy Majority Leader for State/Federal Relations: VACANT
  • Senior Assistant Majority Leader: Sen. Martin Malave Dilan
  • Assistant Majority Leader for Conference Operations: Sen. Neil Breslin
  • Assistant Majority Leader for House Operations: Sen. William Stachowski
  • Democratic Conference Chairwoman: Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson
  • Democratic Program Development Committee Chairman: Sen. Tom Duane
  • Majority Whip: Sen. Antoine Thompson
  • Democratic Conference Vice Chairwoman: Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky
  • Democratic Conference Secretary: Sen. Jose Serrano
  • Democratic Steering Committee Chairwoman: Sen. Diane Savino
  • Assistant Majority Whip: Sen. Velmanette Montgomery
  • Vice President Pro Tempore: Sen. David Valesky

Minority leadership

  • Minority Leader: Sen. Dean Skelos
  • Deputy Minority Leader: Sen. Tom Libous
  • Assistant Minority Leader for Policy and Administration: Sen. Owen Johnson
  • Assistant Minority Leader for Floor Operations: Sen. Hugh Farley
  • Assistant Minority Leader for Intergovernmental Affairs: Sen. Vincent Leibell
  • Minority Republican Chairman: Sen. Kenneth LaValle
  • Minority Republican Vice Chairman: Sen. James Seward
  • Minority Republican Secretary: Sen. Kemp Hannon
  • Minority Whip: Sen. William Larkin
  • Deputy Minority Whip: Sen. Michael Nozzolio
  • Assistant Minority Whip: Sen. Stephen Saland
  • Minority Policy Committee Chairman: Sen. Thomas Morahan
  • Minority Program Development Committee Chairman: Sen. Betty Little

2008 elections and power struggle

For more information, see New York state elections, 2008

Democrats won 32 of 62 seats in New York's upper chamber in the 2008 General Election on November 4, capturing the majority for the first time in more than four decades.[4][5] Although New York has turned almost solidly Democratic at most levels, Republicans were able to hold onto the State Senate for all but one year from 1939 to 2008 because its apportionment traditionally favors the Upstate, where Republicans dominated until very recently. While the Democrats hold all but three seats in New York City, they hold only five seats in the Upstate and two seats on Long Island.

However, a power struggle emerged before the new term began. Four Democratic senators—Rubén Díaz (Bronx), Carl Kruger (Brooklyn), and Senators-elect Pedro Espada (Bronx) and Hiram Monserrate (Queens)—immediately refused to caucus with their party.[6] The self-named "Gang of Four" refused to back Malcolm Smith as the chamber's majority leader and sought concessions.[7] Monserrate soon reached an agreement with Smith that reportedly included the chairmanship of the Consumer Affairs Committee.[8] The remaining "Gang of Three" reached an initial compromise in early December that collapsed within a week,[9] but was ultimately resolved[10] with Smith becoming majority leader[11] until early June, 2009, when two Democrats joined with Republicans to elect a new leadership for the New York State Senate, reaching a power-sharing deal under which Republicans became, again, technically the majority party.

Republican reclamation and ensuing dispute

Position
President/Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch
President Pro Tem Malcolm Smith*
Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr.
Minority Leader Dean Skelos
Deputy Majority Leader Jeffrey Klein
Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Total
Democratic Republican Vacant
End of previous legislature 29 31 60 2
Begin 32 30 62 0
June 8, 2009[12] 30 2 30 62 0
June 15, 2009[13] 31 1 30 62 0
July 9, 2009[14] 32 30 62 0
Latest voting share 53.3% 46.7%

Though there are still 32 Democrats and 30 Republicans in the Senate, on June 8, 2009, elected by the people of New York, Senators Hiram Monserrate (D-Queens) and Pedro Espada, Jr. (D-Bronx)—who were part of what was described by the Associated Press as a "parliamentary coup"—alledgedly voted with the 30 Republican members to install Senator Dean Skelos (R-Nassau) as the new majority leader of the Senate, replacing Senator Malcolm Smith (D-Queens).[15][16]

The move came after Republican whip Tom Libous introduced a surprise resolution to vacate the chair and replace Smith as temporary president and majority leader. In an effort to stop the vote, Democratic whip Jeff Klein unilaterally moved to recess, and Smith had the lights and Internet cut off. However, they were unable to stop the session. All 30 Republicans plus two Democrats, Monserrate and Espada, voted in favor of the resolution. In accordance with a prearranged deal, Espada was elected temporary president and acting lieutenant governor while Skelos was elected majority leader.[17] Both Monserrate and Espada were members of the original "Gang of Four" (the other two being Ruben Diaz and Carl Kruger), a group of Democratic senators that threatened to defect to the Republican caucus to prevent Smith from taking control of the chamber in January 2009. Monserrate had backed out of the Gang at the time, being the first of the four to back Smith.

Each Democratic senator involved in the vote faces allegations of improper conduct or criminal wrongdoing. Monserrate was indicted for felony assault in March and would automatically lose his seat if convicted. New York, like most states, has a provision in its state constitution which bars convicted felons from holding office.[18] Espada is the target of a state investigation into whether he funded his campaign with money siphoned from a nonprofit health care agency he controls. The Bronx's district attorney is also investigating charges that Espada actually lives in Mamaroneck rather than the north Bronx district he represents.[19]

The apparent Republican seizure of power is tenuous in any event. Smith claims the vote was illegal because of Klein's motion to adjourn; parliamentary procedure stipulates that a vote to adjourn takes precedence over all other business. However, Smith, Klein, and most of the Democrats walked out before an actual vote to adjourn could be taken. Smith has also claimed that it is illegal to oust the majority leader in the middle of a two-year term, and as such, leaders can only be replaced at the beginning of a term, except in the case of death or resignation. Smith still asserts that he is majority leader and intends to challenge the vote in court. He has locked the doors of the state senate chambers in an effort to prevent any further legislative action.[18] The Espada-Skelos coalition majority, which is also courting as many as ten more Democrats,[20] announced plans hold sessions in the "Well" of the legislative office building until chamber doors are reopened.[21] By the time of the scheduled session on June 10 at 3:00 p.m., at the request of Governor David Paterson, the keys to the senate chamber were turned over to the coalition;[22] Smith has claimed that the coalition stole the key.[20] The scheduled session was eventually postponed.[20]

As a result of the coup, Senate Democrats voted for John Sampson to replace Malcolm Smith as Democratic Leader. This led Hiram Monserrate to declare that he would once again caucus with the Democrats, which led to a 31-31 split. [23]

On July 9th, 2009, a source stated that Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. would be rejoining the Senate Democratic Conference after reaching a deal to have Malcom Smith be pro tem for a while until a "transition period" occurs in which Senator Sampson would replace him, and Espada as the majority leader.[24]

Composition

Members of the Senate

District Senator Party First elected Residence
1 Kenneth LaValle Republican 1976Port Jefferson
2 John J. Flanagan Republican 2002East Northport
3 Brian X. Foley Democratic2008Blue Point
4 Owen H. Johnson Republican 1972West Babylon
5 Carl Marcellino Republican 1995Syosset
6 Kemp Hannon Republican 1989Garden City
7 Craig JohnsonDemocratic2007Port Washington
8 Charles Fuschillo Republican 1998Merrick
9 Dean Skelos Republican 1984Rockville Centre
10 Shirley HuntleyDemocratic2006Jamaica
11Frank PadavanRepublican1972

Bellerose

12 George OnoratoDemocratic1983Astoria
13 Hiram MonserrateDemocratic2008Jackson Heights
14 Malcolm SmithDemocratic2000St. Albans
15 Joseph Addabbo, Jr. Democratic2008Ozone Park
16 Toby Ann StaviskyDemocratic1999Flushing
17 Martin Malave DilanDemocratic2002Bushwick
18 Velmanette MontgomeryDemocratic1984Brooklyn
19 John SampsonDemocratic1996Brooklyn
20 Eric AdamsDemocratic2006Brooklyn
21 Kevin ParkerDemocratic2002Brooklyn
22 Martin Golden Republican 2002Bay Ridge
23 Diane SavinoDemocratic2004Staten Island
24 Andrew Lanza Republican 2006Staten Island
25 Dan Squadron Democratic2008Brooklyn
26 Liz KruegerDemocratic2002New York
27 Carl KrugerDemocratic1994Brooklyn
28 Jose M. SerranoDemocratic2004Spanish Harlem
29 Thomas DuaneDemocratic1998New York
30 Bill PerkinsDemocratic2006Harlem
31 Eric SchneidermanDemocratic1998Washington Heights
32 Rubén DíazDemocratic2002Soundview
33 Pedro EspadaDemocratic2008Bedford Park
34 Jeffrey KleinDemocratic2004Throgs Neck
35 Andrea Stewart-CousinsDemocratic2006Yonkers
36 Ruth Hassell-ThompsonDemocratic2000Williamsbridge
37 Suzi OppenheimerDemocratic1984Mamaroneck
38 Thomas Morahan Republican 1999 Clarkstown
39 Bill Larkin Republican 1990 New Windsor
40 Vincent Leibell Republican 1994 Patterson
41 Stephen Saland Republican 1990 Poughkeepsie
42 John Bonacic Republican 1998 Mount Hope
43 Roy McDonaldRepublican2008Stillwater
44 Hugh Farley Republican 1976 Schenectady
45 Betty Little Republican 2002 Queensbury
46 Neil BreslinDemocratic1996Albany
47 Joseph Griffo Republican 2006Rome
48 Darrel AubertineDemocratic2008Cape Vincent
49 David ValeskyDemocratic2004Oneida
50 John DeFrancisco Republican 1992 Syracuse
51 James Seward Republican 1986 Milford
52 Thomas W. Libous Republican 1988 Binghamton
53 George H. Winner, Jr. Republican 2004 Elmira
54 Michael Nozzolio Republican 1992 Fayette
55 James Alesi Republican 1996 East Rochester
56 Joseph Robach Republican 2002 Greece
57 Catharine YoungRepublican2005Olean
58 William StachowskiDemocratic1981Hamburg
59 Dale Volker Republican 1975 Depew
60 Antoine ThompsonDemocratic2006Buffalo
61 Michael Ranzenhofer Republican 2008Clarence
62 George D. Maziarz Republican 1995 Newfane

Committee leadership

Senior Democratic committee members

  • Aging: Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr.
  • Agriculture: Sen. Darrel Aubertine
  • Banking: Sen. Brian Foley
  • Budget Reform Select Committee: Sen. Liz Krueger
  • Children and Families: Sen. Velmanette Montgomery
  • Cities: Sen. Daniel Squadron
  • Civil Service and Pensions: Sen. Diane Savino
  • Codes: Sen. Eric Schneiderman
  • Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business: Sen. William Stachowski
  • Consumer Protection: Sen. Hiram Monserrate
  • Corporations, Authorities and Commissions: Sen. Bill Perkins
  • Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections: Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson
  • Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation: Sen. Jose M. Serrano
  • Education: Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer
  • Elections: Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr.
  • Energy and Telecommunications: Sen. Darrel Aubertine
  • Environmental Conservation: Sen. Antoine Thompson
  • Ethics: Sen. John Sampson
  • Finance: Sen. Carl Kruger
  • Health: Sen. Tom Duane
  • Higher Education: Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky
  • Housing, Construction and Community Development: Sen. Pedro Espada
  • Insurance: Sen. Neil Breslin
  • Investigations and Governmental Operations: Sen. Craig Johnson
  • Judiciary: Sen. John Sampson
  • Labor: Sen. George Onorato
  • Local Government: Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins
  • Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities: Sen. Shirley Huntley
  • Racing, Gaming and Wagering: Sen. Eric Adams
  • Rules: Sen. Malcolm Smith
  • Rules and Administration Reform Temporary Committee: Sen. David Valesky and Sen. John Bonacic
  • Social Services: Sen. Velmanette Montgomery
  • Transportation: Sen. Martin Malave Dilan
  • Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs: Sen. Eric Adams
  • Administrative Regulatory Review Commission: TBA
  • Rural Resources Commission: TBA

Committee Vice Chairs

  • Vice Chairwoman of the Finance Committee: Sen. Liz Krueger
  • Vice Chairman of the Rules Committee: Sen. Pedro Espada

Senior Republican committee members

  • Aging: Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer
  • Agriculture: Sen. Catherine Young
  • Banking: Sen. Hugh Farley
  • Budget Reform Select Committee: TBA
  • Children and Families: Sen. Roy McDonald
  • Cities: Sen. Andrew Lanza
  • Civil Service and Pensions: Sen. Andrew Lanza
  • Codes: Sen. Dale Volker
  • Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business: Sen. Jim Alesi
  • Consumer Protection: Sen. Steve Saland
  • Corporations, Authorities and Commissions: Sen. Bill Larkin
  • Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections: Sen. Martin Golden
  • Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation: Sen. Joe Griffo
  • Education: Sen. John Flanagan
  • Elections: Sen. Thomas Libous
  • Energy and Telecommunications: Sen. Mike Nozzolio
  • Environmental Conservation: Sen. Carl Marcellino
  • Ethics: Sen. Owen Johnson
  • Finance: Sen. John DeFrancisco
  • Health: Sen. Kemp Hannon
  • Higher Education: Sen. Ken LaValle
  • Housing, Construction and Community Development: Sen. John Bonacic
  • Insurance: Sen. Jim Seward
  • Investigations and Governmental Operations: Sen. George Winner
  • Judiciary: Sen. George Maziarz
  • Labor: Sen. Joseph Robach
  • Local Government: Sen. Betty Little
  • Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities: Sen. Tom Morahan
  • Racing, Gaming and Wagering: Sen. John Bonacic
  • Rules: Sen. Dean Skelos
  • Social Services: Sen. Roy McDonald
  • Transportation: Sen. Charles Fuschillo
  • Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs: Sen. Vincent Leibell

See also

References

  1. The President of the Senate seat is held ex officio by the Lieutenant Governor, which has been vacant since the ascension of David Paterson to the role of Acting Governor. Paterson has nominated Ravitch to replace himself, an unprecedented move that faces a legal challenge.
  2. "Branches of Government in New York State". New York State Senate, A Guide to New York State's Government. New York State Senate. 1988. http://www.senate.state.ny.us/sws/aboutsenate/branches_gov.html. Retrieved on 2009-04-23. 
  3. Judge Gives State Senators Weekend to Negotiate
  4. 2008 Election Results, New York State Board of Elections.
  5. 2008-09 (Post-Election) Partisan Composition of State Legislatures National Conference of State Legislatures
  6. New York Times. "Democrats Take State Senate." nytimes.com. Nov 5, 2008.
  7. Peters, Jeremy W.Democrats Likely to Keep Control of State Senate, The New York Times, November 6, 2008.
  8. Benjamin, Elizabeth. Monserrate Makes A Democratic Deal The Daily Politics. The Daily News November 8, 2008
  9. Lanza, Michael. Smith Balks After ‘Gang of Three’ Talks The Queens Tribune December 11, 2008.
  10. Democrats Reach Pact to Lead the Senate
  11. Democrats Take Control of New York State Senate
  12. Democratic Senators Pedro Espada, Jr. and Hiram Monserrate defected to give the Republicans a majority.
  13. Hiram Monserrate returned to the Democratic caucus, following a vote to remove Malcolm Smith as Democratic Leader and replace him with John Sampson.
  14. Democratic Senator Pedro Espada, Jr. rejoined the Democratic caucus after a deal for him to serve as Majority Leader.
  15. "GOP, 2 Dems flip power balance in NY Senate", The Washington Post, June 8, 2009. Accessed June 8, 2009.
  16. Odato, James. "Two Democrats join Republicans to topple Smith as Senate leader", Albany Times Union, June 8, 2009. Accessed June 8, 2009.
  17. [1]
  18. 18.0 18.1 Peters, Jeremy, and Danny Hakim.Republicans Seize Control of State Senate. The New York Times, 2009-06-09.
  19. Salonstall, David. Sen. Pedro Espada hounded by questions on ethics and residency. New York Daily News, 2009-06-10.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Bauman, Valerie. Senate stalls: Coalition says it's still strong. Associated Press. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
  21. Benjamin, Elizabeth. Coalition government, Day One. New York Daily News "Daily Politics" blog. 2009-06-09.
  22. http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/06/maverick_coalition_we_have_key.html
  23. Lovett, Kenneth (2009-06-15). State Senate standoff means even bigger mess with Sen. Hiram Monserrate's change of heart. New York Daily News Retrieved 2009-06-15.
  24. Deadlock-Ending Deal Near? Espada To Return To The Democrats. New York Daily News Retrieved 2009-07-09.

External links


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