Written by Joe Rizza Friday, 12 June 2009 09:45
Republican Senator Dean Skelos is back as the leader of the Majority of the State Senate after two Democratic Senators helped the Republican leadership usher out Senator Malcolm Smith as Majority Leader.
The Democrats had the majority in both the New York State Senate and Assembly since January. However, Democratic Senators Pedro Espada of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens voted with the Republicans on resolution to oust Smith.
The Democratic majority had been under criticism by the Republican caucus for passing a state budget many feel creates too much of a burden on taxpayers as well as a payroll tax to help fund the MTA. Republican legislators were also critical of the budget process since they felt they were kept in the dark.
As a result of the resolution, Senator Dean Skelos returns as the Senate Majority Leader, which means that some bills are likely to be debated more heavily or perhaps stopped before they reach the Governor’s desk.
“This was an illegal and unlawful attempt to gain control of the Senate and reverse the will of the people who voted for a Democratic Majority. Nothing has changed. Senator Malcolm A. Smith remains the duly elected Temporary President and Majority Leader. The real Senate Majority is anxious to get back to governing, and will take immediate steps to get us back to work,” said a spokesman for Smith.
Skelos said the new, bi-partisan coalition that was formed “will create a more open, bipartisan, transparent and member-driven body that will take dramatic new steps to end Albany dysfunction.”
There are 62 members of the State Senate with 32 Democrats and 30 Republicans.
Said Assemblyman Tom Alfano, who formerly served as Skelos’ chief of staff, “Dean Skelos taking the reins as Majority Leader means only one thing – Long Island wins.”