New York State Senate
|This article's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (February 2013)|
|New York State Senate|
|New York State Legislature|
New session started
|January 8, 2015|
Length of term
|Authority||Article III, New York Constitution|
|Salary||$79,500/year + per diem|
|November 4, 2014|
|November 8, 2016|
|State Senate Chamber
New York State Capitol
Albany, New York
|New York State Senate|
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. 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 63, elected from single-member constituencies equal in population.
- 1 Recent State Senate history
- 2 Partisan Composition
- 3 Officers
- 4 Committee leadership
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Recent State Senate history
2008 elections and power struggle
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. Previously, the Republicans had held the chamber for all but one year from 1939 to 2008, even as New York turned almost solidly Democratic at all levels.
However, a power struggle emerged before the new term began. Four Democratic senators—Rubén Díaz (Bronx), Carl Kruger (Brooklyn), Pedro Espada (Bronx), and Hiram Monserrate (Queens)—immediately refused to caucus with their party. The self-named "Gang of Four" refused to back Malcolm Smith as the chamber's majority leader and sought concessions. Monserrate soon reached an agreement with Smith that reportedly included the chairmanship of the Consumer Affairs Committee. The remaining "Gang of Three" reached an initial compromise in early December that collapsed within a week, but was ultimately resolved with Smith becoming majority leader 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
Though there were 32 Democrats and 30 Republicans in the Senate, on June 8, 2009, then-Senator 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, to replace Senator Malcolm Smith (D-Queens).
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. 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 was tenuous in any event. Smith claimed 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 asserted he was majority leader and would challenge the vote in court. He locked the doors of the state senate chambers in an effort to prevent any further legislative action. The Espada-Skelos coalition majority, which also courted as many as ten more Democrats, announced plans to hold sessions in the "Well" of the legislative office building until chamber doors are reopened. 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; Smith has claimed that the coalition stole the key. The scheduled session was eventually postponed.
Both Monserrate and Espada faced accusations of unethical or criminal conduct. Monserrate was indicted for felony assault in March and would have automatically lost his seat if convicted. New York, like most states, has a provision in its state constitution which bars convicted felons from holding office. (Monseratte would be acquitted of the felonies, but was convicted on misdemeanors.) Espada was 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.
As a result of the coup, Senate Democrats voted for John Sampson (D-Brooklyn) 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.
On July 9, 2009, a source stated that Espada would be rejoining the Senate Democratic Conference after reaching a deal to have Malcolm Smith be pro tem until a "transition period" during which Senator Sampson would ascend to the Senate's Temporary Presidency. The term expired with Smith still as Temporary President. Democrats orchestrated the removal of both Espada and Monserrate from their ranks; the Senate voted to expel Monserrate, while Espada was defeated in a primary election that had the state party back his primary opponent, Gustavo Rivera.
2012 elections and beyond
Following the 2010 census, New York redistricted the Senate, expanding it from 62 to 63 seats effective in January 2013. When all election night results were tabulated on November 6, 2012, it appeared that Democrats would hold 33 seats for a three-seat majority—just their third Senate majority since World War II. However, Senator Simcha Felder, elected as a Democrat, is instead Conferencing with the Republicans. Also, on December 4, 2012, the Republican Party announced a power-sharing deal with the four-member Independent Democratic Conference, which had previously defected from the Democratic leadership. Under the agreement, Senators Skelos and Klein would alternate daily as temporary president of the Senate. Also as part of the change, former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith joined the Independent Democrats, only to be expelled from the conference in April 2013 due to a scandal in which Smith attempted to bribe the Republican Party chairs in New York City for a Wilson Pakula to run in the upcoming New York City mayoral election. Previous Senate Minority Leader John L. Sampson was expelled from his conference on May 6, 2013, following his arrest.
District 46 was embroiled in a recount when the new Senate was sworn in and the then-leading candidate George Amedore (GOP) became a New York state senator. After the recount was completed, he lost by 18 votes, making him the shortest-serving senator in modern New York history and the loser of the state's second-closest Senate race, to Democratic opponent Cecilia Tkaczyk. Amedore would eventually win a rematch with Tkaczyk in 2014 and be elected to a full term.
In 2014, the Independent Democratic Conference announced that they would end their political alliance with the Republicans and create a new one with the Senate Democratic Conference, citing a need "to fight for the core Democratic policies that are left undone."
The Senate was dominated by the Republican party for much of the 20th Century. After World War II, Democrats only controlled the upper house twice. In 1965, the Democrats gained the majority only to lose in special elections that year. They again came to power following the 2008 elections. Despite an attempted power coup by the entire Republican caucus and two dissident Democrats, the Democrats maintained their majority throughout most of the 2009-2010 session. Following state elections in 2010, Republicans were able to gain the two seats necessary to again reclaim the majority.
The Senate's apportionment traditionally favored Upstate due to the state constitution's original method of giving each county, even sparsely populated ones, at least one senator (a practice that mirrored the United States Senate's approach to give each state the same number of senators). This changed in 1962 when the US Supreme Court mandated that all state legislatures follow "one man, one vote" in Baker v. Carr (further solidified in Reynolds v. Sims). Since then, in redistricting, the Senate has traditionally overrepresented upstate in exchange for the Assembly overrepresenting downstate (each legislative district is allowed up to 5% deviation from the average district population; the state legislature systemically uses this leeway to create less populous Senate districts upstate and more populous ones downstate, and vice versa in the Assembly).
When the Democrats won the majority in 2008, they only held five seats Upstate and two on Long Island. Presently, enrolled Democrats hold all but two seats in New York City, but only four north of Westchester County and none of the nine Long Island seats. Three of the four Upstate Democrats are in the Democratic Conference; the other caucuses with the Independent Democrats.
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
|Begin 2011 session||26||4||32||62||0|
|Begin 2013 session||28||1||4||30||63||0|
|End 2014 session||25||2||5|
|Begin 2015 session||24||1||1||5||32||63||0|
|Latest voting share||38.1%||1.6%||60.3%|
The Senate is headed by its President, a post held ex officio by the Lieutenant Governor. The Senate President has a casting vote in the event of a tie, but otherwise may not 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. They lost that majority on November 2, 2010, when Republican Jack Martins defeated Democratic Senator Craig Johnson. Following the defections of Jeffrey Klein, David Valesky and Diane Savino from the Democratic caucus, the trio joined freshman David Carlucci in a newly formed Independent Conference; this conference serves as "crossbenchers" separate from the Democratic and Republican conferences.
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/she 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 Frank Patience, who was elected to a two-year position in January 2011.
|President of the Senate/Lieutenant Governor||Kathy C. Hochul||Dem|
|Temporary President||John J. Flanagan||Rep||2|
|Republican Conference leader||John J. Flanagan||Rep||2|
|Democratic Conference leader||Andrea Stewart-Cousins||Dem||35|
|Independent Democratic Conference leader||Jeffrey Klein||IDC||34|
- Temporary President: Sen. John Flanagan
- Senate Majority Leader: Sen. John Flanagan
Republican Conference Leadership
- Thomas W. Libous, Deputy Republican Conference Leader for Legislative Operations
- John A. DeFrancisco, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee
- George D. Maziarz, Vice President of the Republican Conference
- Hugh T. Farley, Chairman, Republican Conference Program Development Committee
- Kenneth P. LaValle, Chairman, Senate Republican Conference
- James L. Seward, Assistant Republican Conference Leader on Conference Operations
- Kemp Hannon, Assistant Republican Conference Leader for House Operations
- William J. Larkin Jr., Republican Conference Whip
- Michael F. Nozzolio, Vice Chairman, Senate Republican Conference
- Martin J. Golden, Chairman, Republican Conference Steering Committee
- Joseph E. Robach, Deputy Republican Conference Whip of the Senate
- Elizabeth O'C. Little, Assistant Senate Republican Conference Whip
- John J. Bonacic, Deputy Majority Leader for State/Federal Relations
- Carl L. Marcellino, Deputy Republican Conference Leader for Government Oversight and Accountability
- Catharine M. Young, Deputy Republican Conference Leader for Intergovernmental Affairs
- John J. Flanagan, Deputy Republican Conference Leader for Policy
- Andrew J. Lanza, Liaison to the Executive Branch
- Joseph A. Griffo, Deputy Republican Conference Leader for Senate/Assembly Relations
- Patrick M. Gallivan, Deputy Republican Conference Leader for Economic Development
Independent Democratic Conference
- Jeffrey D. Klein, Independent Democratic Conference Leader & Majority Coalition Leader
- David J. Valesky, Deputy Independent Democratic Conference Leader for Legislative Operations
- David Carlucci, Independent Democratic Conference Whip
- Diane J. Savino, Independent Democratic Conference Liaison to the Executive Branch
- Tony Avella, Assistant Conference Leader for Policy and Administration
Full Minority leadership
- Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Democratic Leader
- Michael Gianaris, Deputy Democratic Leader
- José M. Serrano, Chair of Democratic Conference
- Martin Malave Dilan, Assistant Democratic Leader for Policy and Administration
- Toby Ann Stavisky, Assistant Democratic Leader for Conference Operations
- Neil D. Breslin, Assistant Democratic Leader for Floor Operations
- Kevin S. Parker, Assistant Democratic Leader for Intergovernmental Affairs
- Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Vice Chair of Democratic Conference
- Velmanette Montgomery, Secretary of the Senate Democratic Conference
- Jose Peralta, Democratic Whip
- Bill Perkins, Deputy Democratic Whip
- Timothy M. Kennedy, Assistant Democratic Whip
- Daniel Squadron, Deputy Democratic Floor Leader
- Gustavo Rivera, Chair of Democratic Program Development
Members of the New York State Senate
|District||Senator||Party||Caucus||First elected||Counties Represented|
|1||LaValle, Kenneth P.Kenneth P. LaValle||Republican||1976||Suffolk|
|2||Flanagan, John J.John J. Flanagan||Republican||2002||Suffolk|
|3||Croci, Thomas D.Thomas D. Croci||Republican||2014||Suffolk|
|4||Boyle, Philip M.Philip M. Boyle||Republican||2012||Suffolk|
|5||Marcellino, Carl L.Carl L. Marcellino||Republican||1995†||Nassau, Suffolk|
|6||Hannon, KempKemp Hannon||Republican||1989†||Nassau|
|7||Martins, Jack M.Jack M. Martins||Republican||2010||Nassau|
|8||Venditto, MichaelMichael Venditto||Republican||2014||Nassau, Suffolk|
|9||Skelos, DeanDean Skelos||Republican||1984||Nassau|
|10||Sanders, Jr., JamesJames Sanders, Jr.||Democratic||2012||Queens|
|11||Avella, TonyTony Avella||Democratic||IDC||2010||Queens|
|12||Gianaris, Michael N.Michael N. Gianaris||Democratic||2010||Queens|
|13||Peralta, JoseJose Peralta||Democratic||2010†||Queens|
|14||Comrie, LeroyLeroy Comrie||Democratic||2014||Queens|
|15||Addabbo, Jr., JosephJoseph Addabbo, Jr.||Democratic||2008||Queens|
|16||Stavisky, Toby AnnToby Ann Stavisky||Democratic||1999†||Queens|
|17||Felder, SimchaSimcha Felder||Democratic||Republican||2012||Kings (Brooklyn)|
|18||Dilan, Martin MalaveMartin Malave Dilan||Democratic||2002||Kings|
|19||Sampson, John L.John L. Sampson||Democratic||No caucus||1996||Kings|
|20||Hamilton, JesseJesse Hamilton||Democratic||2014||Kings|
|21||Parker, Kevin S.Kevin S. Parker||Democratic||2002||Kings|
|22||Golden, Martin J.Martin J. Golden||Republican||2002||Kings|
|23||Savino, DianeDiane Savino||Democratic||IDC||2004||Kings, Richmond (Staten Island)|
|24||Lanza, Andrew J.Andrew J. Lanza||Republican||2006||Richmond|
|25||Montgomery, VelmanetteVelmanette Montgomery||Democratic||1984||Kings|
|26||Squadron, DanielDaniel Squadron||Democratic||2008||Kings, New York (Manhattan)|
|27||Hoylman, BradBrad Hoylman||Democratic||2012||New York|
|28||Krueger, LizLiz Krueger||Democratic||2002†||New York|
|29||Serrano, Jose M.Jose M. Serrano||Democratic||2004||New York, Bronx|
|30||Perkins, BillBill Perkins||Democratic||2006||New York|
|31||Espaillat, AdrianoAdriano Espaillat||Democratic||2010||New York|
|32||Díaz, Sr., RubénRubén Díaz, Sr.||Democratic||2002||Bronx|
|33||Rivera, GustavoGustavo Rivera||Democratic||2010||Bronx|
|34||Klein, Jeffrey D.Jeffrey D. Klein||Democratic||IDC||2004||Bronx, Westchester|
|35||Stewart-Cousins, AndreaAndrea Stewart-Cousins||Democratic||2006||Westchester|
|36||Hassell-Thompson, RuthRuth Hassell-Thompson||Democratic||2000||Bronx, Westchester|
|37||Latimer, George S.George S. Latimer||Democratic||2012||Westchester|
|38||Carlucci, DavidDavid Carlucci||Democratic||IDC||2010||Rockland, Westchester|
|39||Larkin, Jr., William J.William J. Larkin, Jr.||Republican||1990||Orange, Rockland, Ulster|
|40||Murphy, Terrence P.Terrence P. Murphy||Republican||2014||Dutchess, Putnam, Westchester|
|41||Serino, Susan J.Susan J. Serino||Republican||2014||Dutchess, Putnam|
|42||Bonacic, John J.John J. Bonacic||Republican||1998||Delaware, Orange, Sullivan, Ulster|
|43||Marchione, Kathleen A.Kathleen A. Marchione||Republican||2012||Columbia, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Washington|
|44||Breslin, NeilNeil Breslin||Democratic||1996||Albany, Rensselaer|
|45||Little, BettyBetty Little||Republican||2002||Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Saint Lawrence, Warren, Washington|
|46||Amedore, Jr., George A.George A. Amedore, Jr.||Republican||2014||Albany, Greene, Montgomery, Schenectady, Ulster|
|47||Griffo, JosephJoseph Griffo||Republican||2006||Lewis, Oneida, St. Lawrence|
|48||Ritchie, PattyPatty Ritchie||Republican||2010||Jefferson, Oswego, St. Lawrence|
|49||Farley, HughHugh Farley||Republican||1976||Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Saratoga, Schenectady|
|50||DeFrancisco, JohnJohn DeFrancisco||Republican||1992||Cayuga, Onondaga|
|51||Seward, JamesJames Seward||Republican||1986||Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Herkimer, Otsego, Schoharie, Tompkins, Ulster|
|52||Libous, Thomas W.Thomas W. Libous||Republican||1988||Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Tioga|
|53||Valesky, DavidDavid Valesky||Democratic||IDC||2004||Madison, Oneida, Onondaga|
|54||Nozzolio, MichaelMichael Nozzolio||Republican||1992||Cayuga, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Tompkins, Wayne|
|55||Funke, RichardRichard Funke||Republican||2014||Monroe, Ontario|
|56||Robach, JosephJoseph Robach||Republican||2002||Monroe|
|57||Young, CatharineCatharine Young||Republican||2005†||Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Livingston|
|58||O'Mara, TomTom O'Mara||Republican||2010||Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Tompkins, Yates|
|59||Gallivan, PatrickPatrick Gallivan||Republican||2010||Erie, Livingston, Monroe, Wyoming|
|60||Panepinto, MarcMarc Panepinto||Democratic||2014||Erie|
|61||Ranzenhofer, Michael H.Michael H. Ranzenhofer||Republican||2008||Erie, Genesee, Monroe|
|62||Ortt, Robert G.Robert G. Ortt||Republican||2014||Monroe, Niagara, Orleans|
|63||Kennedy, Timothy M.Timothy M. Kennedy||Democratic||2010||Erie|
†Elected in a special election
As of January 2015 (committee leaders are Republican unless otherwise noted):
- Administrative Regulations Review Commission: Terrence P. Murphy
- Aging: Sue Serino
- Agriculture: Patty Ritchie
- Alcoholism and Substance Abuse: George Amedore
- Banking: Diane Savino (IDC)
- Children and Families: Simcha Felder (Dem. in GOP Caucus)
- Cities: Andrew J. Lanza
- Civil Service and Pensions: Martin J. Golden
- Codes: Michael Nozzolio
- Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business: Philip Boyle
- Commission on Rural Resources: Catharine Young
- Consumer Protection: Michael Venditto
- Corporations, Authorities and Commissions: Michael H. Ranzenhofer
- Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections: Patrick Gallivan
- Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation: Betty Little
- Education: John Flanagan
- Elections: Rich Funke
- Energy: Joseph Griffo
- Environmental Conservation: Tom O'Mara
- Ethics: Tony Avella (IDC)
- Finance: John DeFrancisco
- Health: Kemp Hannon
- Higher Education: Kenneth P. LaValle
- Housing, Construction and Community Development: Catharine Young
- Infrastructure and Capital Investment: Carl L. Marcellino
- Insurance: James Seward
- Investigations and Governmental Operations: Carl L. Marcellino
- Judiciary: John Bonacic
- Labor: Jack M. Martins
- Local Government: Kathy Marchione
- Select Committee on Libraries: Hugh Farley
- Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities: Robert G. Ortt
- New York City Education Subcommittee: Simcha Felder (Dem. in GOP Caucus)
- Racing, Gaming and Wagering: John Bonacic
- Rules: Dean Skelos
- Select Committee on Science, Technology, Incubation and Entrepreneurship: Martin J. Golden
- Social Services: David Carlucci (IDC)
- Select Committee on State-Native American Relations: Joseph Griffo
- Transportation: Joseph Robach
- Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs: Thomas D. Croci
- Majority Leader of the New York State Senate
- List of New York State Senators (a redundant article since it also lists the senators)
- New York State Assembly
- New York State Capitol
- New York state elections, 2008
- 2009 New York State Senate leadership crisis
- "Branches of Government in New York State". New York State Senate, A Guide to New York State's Government. New York State Senate. 1988. Retrieved 2009-04-23.
- McKinley, Jesse (24 February 2014). "What Is a Majority Vote in the State Senate? The Answer Goes Beyond Simple Math". The New York Times.
- 2008 Election Results, New York State Board of Elections.
- 2008-09 (Post-Election) Partisan Composition of State Legislatures National Conference of State Legislatures
- New York Times. "Democrats Take State Senate." nytimes.com. Nov 5, 2008.
- Peters, Jeremy W.Democrats Likely to Keep Control of State Senate, The New York Times, November 6, 2008.
- Benjamin, Elizabeth. Monserrate Makes A Democratic Deal The Daily Politics. The Daily News November 8, 2008
- Lanza, Michael. Smith Balks After ‘Gang of Three’ Talks The Queens Tribune December 11, 2008.
- Democrats Reach Pact to Lead the Senate
- Democrats Take Control of New York State Senate
- "GOP, 2 Dems flip power balance in NY Senate", The Washington Post, June 8, 2009
- Odato, James. "Two Democrats join Republicans to topple Smith as Senate leader", Albany Times Union, June 8, 2009
- Peters, Jeremy, and Danny Hakim.Republicans Seize Control of State Senate. The New York Times, 2009-06-09
- Bauman, Valerie. Senate stalls: Coalition says it's still strong. Associated Press. Retrieved 2009-06-11
- Benjamin, Elizabeth. Coalition government, Day One. New York Daily News "Daily Politics" blog. 2009-06-09.
- Staten Island Live report on end of New York State Senate paralysis
- Salonstall, David. Sen. Pedro Espada hounded by questions on ethics and residency. New York Daily News, 2009-06-10
- 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
- Deadlock-Ending Deal Near? Espada To Return To The Democrats. New York Daily News Retrieved 2009-07-09
- Kaplan, Thomas Coalition Is to Control State Senate as Dissident Democrats Join With the G.O.P., The New York Times, December 4, 2012.
- Lovett, Kenneth (April 15, 2013). NYS Senate Independent Democratic Conference To Busted Malcolm Smith: Stay Away. New York Daily News. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
- United Press International (UPI), " Dem. squeaks into N.Y. Senate by 18 votes," January 18, 2013, Retrieved January 18, 2013
- Vielkind, Jimmy "It's Tkaczyk by just 18 votes," Times Union, January 18, 2013, Retrieved January 19, 2013
- Bain, Glenn. "Senate's Independent Democratic Conference announces end to alliance with Republicans - UPDATED". New York Daily News. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
- Gormley, Michael (November 5, 2014). Democrat Diaz will give Senate GOP’s slim majority another vote. Newsday. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
- Hamilton, Matthew; Karlin, Rick (January 8, 2015). "Session begins, lacking drama". Times Union. Retrieved 2015-01-16.
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