Beware the Slow News Day…

These are the kinds of days I fear. Not much news this morning after a great weekend, just to be shocked back into reality by the announcement that the New York State Senate is now controlled by Republicans again, after a political coup by two NYC-area Democratic Senators.

The two defecting Senators are socially conservative Democrats: Hiram Monserrate of Queens and Pedro Espada of the Bronx. The Senators have apparently been upset with former Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith’s leadership since the Democrats took control of the Senate after last November’s elections. Pedro Espada was quickly appointed Senate President and Dean Skelos as Majority Leader. Espada’s defection comes after he had previously entered a power-sharing agreement which allowed Malcolm Smith to assume his leadership role this past January.

The immediate impact of this sudden change is major. As the NYS Legislature is winding down for the year, there are several important proposals left on the table that will probably not come to a vote, including a bill already passed in the Assembly which would legalize same-sex marriage in New York.

While the story has not yet been reported in this manner, I would not be surprised if the coup was pushed forward because of Malcolm Smith’s support of the same-sex marriage bill, and the traction the bill was gaining in the Senate. It was widely rumored that part of the power-sharing agreement previously entered into between Smith, Espada and Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. (another NYC-er) premised Smith’s role as Majority Leader on his agreement not to bring the same-sex marriage bill to the floor.

All of this cries out for the need of intergovernmental reform not just in our local politics, but in our state capital as well. By too many this coup will be viewed as business as usual in Albany. But for those of us who have been on one side of many of these bills that the Republicans will not support, the view is much more dismal. Just when we were so close to making some decent progress toward change, it seems we will fall back into the same partisan battles of yore.

If you are unhappy with these shenanigans, please feel free to comment below and discuss how we can begin to reform government at home, and in Albany.

UPDATE: The political junkie, Ken Rudin, certainly lends some credence to my theory regarding this afternoon’s defection.


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