Thursday, December 11, 2008

Senate Majority in Question?

The majority status of the NYS Senate is now in question and it's unclear who's going to be in the majority. The "Gang of Three" Senators and Democratic Caucus Leader Malcolm Smith...have changed their minds. Smith is no longer willing to compromise on certain social issues for the "Gang of Three" and Senator-Elect Espada claims that Smith did not fulfill his part of the bargain. Espada was going to be Majority Leader with Smith as President Pro-Temp. Espada said that the position was minimized by Smith, saying, "There was to be a partnership with the rest of the conference; that office would have a budget. As the week wore on there was no budget, there was no power, it was just a title. He was set to announce it today; it was an empty title. I was not going to make myself a party to that kind of fraud."

The goal of the "Gang of Three" was to have more Latinos in leadership roles, themselves specifically. That was part of their big deal, making sure Latinos are represented in the Senate in their misguided attempt to create racial quotas in leadership. I find the whole idea of racial quotas in the leadership roles demeaning, but Senator-Elect Espada apparently disagrees.

With the three "renegade" Senators unclear about their status - it's up to Dean Skelos and Malcolm Smith to unite their respective caucuses and figure out what to do. According to insiders, two Republicans contacted Smith saying they'd consider supporting him for leader of the Senate. By the end of the week, it's predicted that Espada and company will have met with the two caucuses and made some form of decision.

New Yorkers, be prepared for an agressive legislative session filled with arguments from within both caucuses.


epc said...

Which office is next in line to the Governor (given that we have no Lt. Governor at the moment)? Majority Leader or President Pro-Tempore?

Nice blog so far. Though a registered Democrat, I think having multiple parties is healthy for democracy, you only need to look to my native Illinois to see what happens when a party ceases to have a state–wide presence.

M.R. Newman said...

Thanks! Good to hear from a reader. The President Pro-Tempore (PPT) serves as acting Lieutenant Governor in New York. After the PPT, it goes to Speaker of the Assembly, Sheldon Silver.

epc said...

Ok, I was afraid it would be Espada or one of the other gang of three.

M.R. Newman said...

Nope, Majority Leader isn't an official title in terms of Constitutional line of succession. Traditionally, the two have been the same person - it's just with the Senate Majority in question that the two positions (PPT and Majority Leader) have been considered for division.