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New York Senate


New York Senate

New York State Senate
New York State Legislature
Type Upper house
Term limits None
New session started January 8, 2013
President of the Senate Robert J. Duffy, (D)
Since January 1, 2011
Co-Temporary President Dean Skelos, (R)
Since December 11, 2012
Co-Temporary President Jeffrey Klein, (IDC)
Since January 10, 2013
Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, (D)
Since December 19, 2012
Seats 63
Political groups Republican Party (30)
Democratic Party (28) Independent Democratic Conference (4)
Length of term 2 years
Authority Article III, New York Constitution
Salary $79,500/year + per diem
Last election November 6, 2012
Next election November 4, 2014
Redistricting Legislative Control
Meeting place
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.[1] 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.


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.[2]

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.[3]

Position Name Party District
President of the Senate/Lieutenant Governor Robert J. Duffy Dem
Co-Temporary Presidents
On daily rotation
Dean Skelos Rep 9
Jeffrey Klein IDC 34
Republican Conference leader Dean Skelos Rep 9
Democratic Conference leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins Dem 35
Independent Democratic Conference leader Jeffrey Klein[4] IDC 34

Majority leadership

  • Temporary Presidents: Sen. Dean Skelos / Sen. Jeffrey Klein
  • Senate Majority Leaders: Sen. Dean Skelos / Sen. Jeffrey Klein

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
  • Charles J. Fuschillo Jr., Secretary of the 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 Coaltion 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

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

2008 elections and power struggle

For more information, see New York state elections, 2008.

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.[5][6] 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.[7] The self-named "Gang of Four" refused to back Malcolm Smith as the chamber's majority leader and sought concessions.[8] Monserrate soon reached an agreement with Smith that reportedly included the chairmanship of the Consumer Affairs Committee.[9] The remaining "Gang of Three" reached an initial compromise in early December that collapsed within a week,[10] but was ultimately resolved[11] with Smith becoming majority leader[12] 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).[13][14]

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.[15] 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.[16] The Espada-Skelos coalition majority, which also courted as many as ten more Democrats,[17] announced plans to hold sessions in the "Well" of the legislative office building until chamber doors are reopened.[18] 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;[19] Smith has claimed that the coalition stole the key.[17] The scheduled session was eventually postponed.[17]

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.[16] (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.[20]

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.[21]

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.[22] 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.

Current Composition

The Senate was dominated by the Republican party for much of the 20th Century. After World War II, Democrats only controlled the 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 the 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).[23] This changed in 1962 when the US Supreme Court mandated that all state legisatures 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 in the Upstate and two on Long Island. Presently, the Democrats hold all but three seats in New York City, but only four north of the city and none of the nine Long Island seats. Two of the four upstate Democrats are in the Democratic Conference; the other two caucus with the Independent Democrats.

Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Democratic Ind. Dem.
Republican Vacant
Begin 2011 session 26 4 32 62 0
End 25 33
Begin 2013 session 27 1 5 30 63 0
April 17, 2013[24] 27 1 4
May 6, 2013[25] 26 2
Latest voting share 41.3% 3.2% 55.6%

2012 elections

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.[26] Also, on December 4, 2012, the G.O.P. 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,[27] only to be expelled from the conference in April 2013 due to a scandal in which Smith attempted to bribe the Republican Party chairs for a Wilson Pakula to run in the upcoming New York City mayoral election.[28] 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.[29][30]

Winners of the 2012 Senate Elections

District Senator Party Caucus First elected Counties Represented
1 Kenneth P. LaValle Republican 1976 Suffolk
2 John J. Flanagan Republican 2002 Suffolk
3 Lee M. Zeldin Republican 2010 Suffolk
4 Philip M. Boyle Republican 2012 Suffolk
5 Carl L. Marcellino Republican 1995† Nassau, Suffolk
6 Kemp Hannon Republican 1989† Nassau
7 Jack M. Martins Republican 2010 Nassau
8 Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. Republican 1998† Nassau, Suffolk
9 Dean G. Skelos Republican 1984 Nassau
10 James Sanders Jr. Democratic 2012 Queens
11 Tony Avella Democratic 2010 Queens
12 Michael N. Gianaris Democratic 2010 Queens
13 Jose R. Peralta Democratic 2010† Queens
14 Malcolm A. Smith Democratic No caucus 2000† Queens
15 Joseph P Addabbo Jr. Democratic 2008 Queens
16 Toby Ann Stavisky Democratic 1999† Queens
17 Simcha Felder Democratic[31] Republican 2012 Brooklyn
18 Martin Malave Dilan Democratic 2002 Brooklyn
19 John L. Sampson Democratic No caucus 1996 Brooklyn
20 Eric Adams Democratic 2006 Brooklyn
21 Kevin S. Parker Democratic 2002 Brooklyn
22 Martin J. Golden Republican 2002 Brooklyn
23 Diane J. Savino Democratic IDC 2004 Brooklyn, Staten Island
24 Andrew J. Lanza Republican 2006 Staten Island
25 Velmanette Montgomery Democratic 1984 Brooklyn
26 Daniel Squadron Democratic 2008 Brooklyn, Manhattan
27 Brad M. Hoylman Democratic 2012 Manhattan
28 Liz Krueger Democratic 2002 Manhattan
29 Jose M. Serrano Democratic 2004 Manhattan, The Bronx
30 Bill Perkins Democratic 2006 Manhattan
31 Adriano Espaillat Democratic 2010 Manhattan
32 Rubén Díaz, Sr. Democratic 2002 The Bronx
33 J. Gustavo Rivera Democratic 2010 The Bronx
34 Jeffrey D. Klein Democratic IDC 2004 The Bronx, Westchester
35 Andrea Stewart-Cousins Democratic 2006 Westchester
36 Ruth Hassell-Thompson Democratic 2000 The Bronx, Westchester
37 George S. Latimer Democratic 2012 Westchester
38 David Carlucci Democratic IDC 2010 Rockland, Westchester
39 William J. Larkin, Jr. Republican 1990 Orange, Rockland, Ulster
40 Gregory R. Ball Republican 2010 Dutchess, Putnam, Westchester
41 Terry W. Gipson Democratic 2012 Dutchess, Putnam
42 John J. Bonacic Republican 1998 Delaware, Orange, Sullivan, Ulster
43 Kathleen A. Marchione Republican 2012 Columbia, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Washington
44 Neil D. Breslin Democratic 1996 Albany, Rensselaer
45 Elizabeth O'C. Little Republican 2002 Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Saint Lawrence, Warren, Washington
46 Cecilia Tkaczyk[n 1] Democratic 2012 Albany, Greene, Montgomery, Schenectady, Ulster
47 Joseph A. Griffo Republican 2006 Lewis, Oneida, Saint Lawrence
48 Patricia A. Ritchie Republican 2010 Jefferson, Oswego, Saint Lawrence
49 Hugh Farley Republican 1976 Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Saratoga, Schenectady
50 John A. Defrancisco Republican 1992 Cayuga, Onondaga
51 James Seward Republican 1986 Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Herkimer, Otsego, Schoharie, Tompkins, Ulster
52 Thomas W. Libous Republican 1988 Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Tioga
53 David J. Valesky Democratic IDC 2004 Madison, Oneida, Onondaga
54 Michael F. Nozzolio Republican 1992 Cayuga, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Tompkins, Wayne
55 Ted O'Brien Democratic 2012 Monroe, Ontario
56 Joseph E. Robach Republican 2002 Monroe
57 Catharine M. Young Republican 2005† Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Livingston
58 Thomas F. O'Mara Republican 2010 Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Tompkins, Yates
59 Patrick M. Gallivan Republican 2010 Erie, Livingston, Monroe, Wyoming
60 Mark J. Grisanti Republican[32] 2010 Erie
61 Michael H. Ranzenhofer Republican 2008 Erie, Genesee, Monroe
62 George D. Maziarz Republican 1995† Monroe, Niagara, Orleans
63 Timothy M. Kennedy Democratic 2010 Erie

†Elected in a special election [33]

Committee leadership

As of the February 2012 session:[34]
Independent Democrats' Caucus indicated with (ID); all others Republican.

  • Administrative Regulations Review Commission: David Carlucci (ID)
  • Aging: David Valesky (ID)
  • Agriculture: Patty Ritchie
  • Alcoholism and Substance Abuse: Jeffrey Klein (ID)
  • Banking: Joseph Griffo
  • Children and Families: Diane Savino (ID)
  • Cities: Andrew Lanza
  • Civil Service and Pensions: Martin Golden
  • Codes: Michael Nozzolio
  • Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business: Jim Alesi
  • Commission on Rural Resources: Catharine Young
  • Consumer Protection: Lee Zeldin
  • Corporations, Authorities and Commissions: Michael Ranzenhofer
  • Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections: Patrick Gallivan
  • Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation: Betty Little
  • Education: John Flanagan
  • Elections: Tom O'Mara
  • Energy: George Maziarz
  • Environmental Conservation: Mark Grisanti
  • Ethics: Andrew Lanza
  • Finance: John DeFrancisco
  • Health: Kemp Hannon
  • Higher Education: Kenneth LaValle
  • Housing, Construction and Community Development: Catharine Young
  • Insurance: James Seward
  • Investigations and Governmental Operations: Carl Marcellino
  • Judiciary: John Bonacic
  • Labor: Joseph Robach
  • Local Government: Jack Martins
  • Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities: Roy McDonald
  • Racing, Gaming and Wagering: John Bonacic
  • Rules: Dean Skelos
  • Social Services:
  • Transportation: Charles Fuschillo
  • Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs: Greg Ball

Committee Vice Chairs

  • Vice Chairman of the Finance Committee: Hugh Farley

Committee ranking members

All members of the Democratic Conference.
  • Aging: Ruben Diaz
  • Agriculture: Timothy M. Kennedy
  • Banking: vacant
  • Children and Families: Velmanette Montgomery
  • Cities: Tony Avella
  • Civil Service and Pensions: Liz Krueger
  • Codes: Michael Gianaris
  • Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business: Timothy M. Kennedy
  • Consumer Protection: Eric Adams
  • Corporations, Authorities and Commissions: Bill Perkins
  • Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections: Gustavo Rivera
  • Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation: Jose Serrano
  • Education: Suzi Oppenheimer
  • Elections: Joseph Addabbo
  • Energy: Kevin Parker
  • Environmental Conservation: Tony Avella
  • Ethics: Shirley Huntley
  • Finance: Liz Krueger
  • Health: Tom Duane
  • Higher Education: Toby Ann Stavisky
  • Housing, Construction and Community Development: Adriano Espaillat
  • Insurance: Neil Breslin
  • Investigations and Governmental Operations: Daniel Squadron
  • Judiciary: Ruth Hassell-Thompson
  • Labor: Jose Peralta
  • Local Government: Andrea Stewart-Cousins
  • Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities: Shirley Huntley
  • Racing, Gaming and Wagering: Eric Adams
  • Rules: vacant
  • Social Services: Liz Krueger
  • Transportation: Martin Dilan
  • Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs: Joseph Addabbo


See also


External links

  • New York State Senate

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