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GOP Regains Control Of NY State Senate

Discreetly buried in the ‘NY/Region’ section of the New York Times:

G.O.P. Regains Control of New York State Senate

By DANNY HAKIM and JEREMY W. PETERS

June 9, 2009

ALBANY — The Democrats’ tenuous control of the New York State Senate abruptly collapsed on Monday, throwing the Legislature into chaos with just two weeks remaining in its session.

Two dissident Democrats, who had been secretly strategizing with Republicans for weeks, bucked their party’s leaders and joined with 30 Republican senators to form what they said would be a bipartisan power-sharing deal. But the arrangement effectively re-establishes Republican control.

The change upends the agenda in Albany, where Democrats had assumed power in the Senate in January, with 32 seats, after more than 40 years in the minority. Democrats were pushing bills to give tenants more rights, strengthen abortion rights and legalize same-sex marriage this session. And the move underscores the continuing tumult of New York politics, where there have been three governors in less than three years and four Senate presidents since last summer.

Democratic leaders were caught off guard as the Republicans and the two Democratic dissidents, Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens, moved to topple them, and at one point became so flustered that they turned out the lights in the Senate chamber to try to prevent Republicans from installing new leaders.

Asked by a reporter what was occurring, Senator Malcolm A. Smith, leader of the Senate Democrats who was huddled in the hall with his staff, responded, “I’m trying to find out right now.”

A spokesman for Mr. Smith, who lost the titles of majority leader and Senate president in the shakeup, issued a statement later saying that Democrats would challenge the vote, but it was not clear that they had grounds to do so.

Gov. David A. Paterson, at a news conference Monday evening, called the move “an outrage” and said Albany had become a “dysfunctional wreck.”

The governor also said “I will not allow this,” but then conceded that there was nothing he could do to stop it.

The toppling of Democratic control unfolded in swift and dramatic fashion shortly after 3 p.m. as senators gathered in the lofty oaken chamber for what seemed like small-bore legislative action on an uneventful afternoon.

Then, Senator Tom Libous, a Binghamton Republican, offered a resolution to reorganize the Senate leadership, a parliamentary maneuver that captured the entire Capitol’s attention. Within minutes, reporters, staff members and Assembly members rushed to the Senate, crowding the chamber floor.

Democrats tried to stall the move, storming from the chamber and turning out the lights, but the Republicans continued the session as the two Democrats joined with them to elect new leaders.

Quickly and without a numerical majority, Dean G. Skelos, a Long Island Republican, reclaimed the title of Senate majority leader. Mr. Espada was made Senate president.

Both Mr. Espada and Mr. Monserrate said they would remain Democrats even as they work with Republicans to run the Senate.

Both men have legal troubles. Highlighting the often elastic nature of ethical stands and alliances in Albany, Republicans who earlier this year were calling on Mr. Monserrate to resign after his indictment on felony charges that he stabbed his companion with a broken glass are now welcoming him as part of their power-sharing coalition.

Asked about the reversal, Mr. Skelos said, “He’s an elected member, and the reforms are more important.”

Mr. Espada has been fined tens of thousands of dollars over several years for flouting state law by not disclosing political contributions.

The state attorney general’s office is also investigating the Soundview HealthCare Network, a nonprofit organization that Mr. Espada ran until recently.

The new leadership structure means that Mr. Espada would become governor if Gov. David Paterson were incapacitated…

Mr. Smith, at a news conference Monday night, argued that the Senate had adjourned when the Republicans took power — both sides argued the procedural fine points of what took place — and insisted that “the Senate majority is still in Democratic hands.”

“I’m not going to have this institution, which is a very proud institution, be demeaned in a manner like this,” Mr. Smith said. But Mr. Smith’s support appeared shaky; at least half a dozen Democrats did not attend his news conference.

After installing their leaders, Republicans enacted a series of rules reforms, including six-year term limits for the president and majority leader, steps to equalize the budgets of the majority and minority parties and mandating that pork barrel projects would be distributed equally among members of both parties…

Mr. Skelos said his legislative priorities would include resolving whether Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg could retain control over the city school system, reforming property taxes and reissuing property tax rebate checks that had been eliminated by Mr. Paterson and lawmakers in budget negotiations earlier this year.

He said he had not discussed with Mr. Espada whether they would bring the same-sex marriage bill to a vote.

Mr. Skelos has said he opposes same-sex marriage, but Mr. Espada is one of the co-sponsors of the legislation, which has been one of the most closely watched issues this session…

The shake-up most likely means that Republicans will take over the chairmanships of most of the Senate’s committees. Staff members, whose jobs often depend on which party is in power, were trying to assess the impact of the switch Monday night.

Of course this had nothing to do with Sarah Palin’s recent visit to New York State.

By the way, the article neglects to mention it, but the two Democrat ‘dissidents,’ Senators Pedro Espada Jr.  and Hiram Monserrate, are both Latinos.

Both men have legal troubles. Highlighting the often elastic nature of ethical stands and alliances in Albany…

A detail we would have never heard from our one party media, if they had remained loyal Democrats.

(Thanks to Odie44 for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, June 9th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

10 Responses to “GOP Regains Control Of NY State Senate”

  1. electionhangovervictim says:

    “Democrats were pushing bills to give tenants more rights, strengthen abortion rights and legalize same-sex marriage this session.”

    Is there really a need for this sentence? First of all, it’s location in this article is very random. It has no relevance to the other two sentences in that paragraph. Which brings me to my next point…it really has no relevance to the article at all. It’s merely a jab at Republicans through implication: “Democrats were pushing bills to give tenants more rights, strengthen abortion rights and legalize same-sex marriage this session, BUT now that won’t happen because of those mean old Republicans!”

    Gotta love the NYT.

  2. proreason says:

    Isn’t it amusing that one of the most important political stories of the year didn’t make it to the front page of the Slimes.

    Why, it’s almost as if there is some news filtering going on by the Slimes.

    Isn’t the motto really “all the news fit to print, as long as it fits our agenda”.

  3. pdsand says:

    “The Democrats’ tenuous control of the New York State Senate abruptly collapsed on Monday, throwing the Legislature into chaos with just two weeks remaining in its session.”

    Shouldn’t it be something like, “the legislature emerged from chaos with just two weeks remaining in its session, after Democrat control of the New York State Senate abruptly collapsed on Monday”?

  4. “The governor also said “I will not allow this,” but then conceded that there was nothing he could do to stop it.”

    Once again proving that democrats are autocratic, not democratic.

    And highlighting the defection and legal troubles of the two Latina senators obviously proves that the news reporters are racists.

    • Confucius says:

      This does seem to be a common response by Democrats.

      Alongside shutting off the lights.

  5. DGA says:

    Shutting off the lights, jeeze, lefties are like a bunch of 12 year old kids, crying and whining.

  6. MinnesotaRush says:

    “.. called the move “an outrage” and said Albany had become a “dysfunctional wreck.”

    Freudian slip Paterson, old boy. Most all of government lately is an “outrage” and a “dysfunctional wreck”!!!

    (bet he never saw that one comin’ .. nyuck, nyuck, nyuck .. yes, pun intended) :-)

    • pdsand says:

      It’s almost as much of an outrage and a dysfunctional wreck as New Jersey! Ha! I said New Jersey!

  7. canary says:

    The New York Democrats should be put on the New York State Homeland Security Democrat radical extremist hate group. Obama used Air-Force 1 to zip around ground zero, terrifying New Yorkers.


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