David Paterson | Gay Marriage | Malcolm Smith | New York | News | Republican Party

Mass Confusion in New York Senate as GOP Seizes Control

The NY Times reports:

Monseratte_espada "A raucous leadership fight erupted on the floor of the Senate around 3 p.m., with two Democrats, Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens, joining the 30 Senate Republicans in a motion that would displace Democrats as the party in control. It was a noisy and acrimonious scene on the floor of the Senate as Senator Thomas W. Libous, a Republican from Binghamton and the party’s deputy leader, shouted for a roll-call vote, while Democrats attempted to stall the vote by asking to adjourn the session. All 30 Republicans stood with their hands raised, signaling a vote for a change in leadership. Mr. Espada and Mr. Monserrate joined them, each raising his hand. It appeared that Republicans had won the vote by a 32-to-30 margin. If the Republicans retake the chamber, Dean G. Skelos, of Long Island, would likely be the new majority leader."

Espada Elizabeth Benjamin of NYDN:

"The deal that enabled the Republicans to woo Democratic Sens. Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate to their side in today's coup has been months in the making and will result in an unusual degree of power-sharing in the chamber, according to one insider with knowledge of the deal. Assuming it all holds - and that isn't a foregone conclusion (I smell a major lawsuit) - here's what we know: Aside from Democratic Senate President Pedro Espada Jr., shown here being sworn in to his new leadership post along with Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos in the wake of the coup, there will be as many as 10 Democrats who get committee chairmanships."

Press releases: Smith: "I'm still majority leader." Monseratte: "I'm still a Democrat."

At this point there's no real evidence that this chaos erupted over the marriage equality bill. Espada is pro-marriage equality and Monserrate, at least according to the recent NY1 survey, is undecided.

Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell told New York magazine he's not giving up hope: "I believe that it's still coming regardless of who controls the Senate. Every year more Americans and more New Yorkers support my right to a marriage license.

Pedro Espada and Dean Skelos: Swearing in... The NEW RULES.

Paterson Governor Paterson gave a press conference late yesterday excoriating the Republican move: "The actions taken on the senate floor today need to be exposed for what they are, an unnecessary distraction to government, dressed up in the cloak - falsely - of reform and good government...I don’t care if I am the only one standing, but someone has got to stand up and say that this is wrong."

Swearing in video plus PRESS CONFERENCE with Skelos and Governor Paterson, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. fuck all of 'em. pathetic legislative body. hope it implodes.

    Posted by: freddy | Jun 8, 2009 5:33:38 PM

  2. If the Republicans control the State Senate, how can there be a gay-marriage vote in the NY Senate?

    Posted by: Jeff NYC | Jun 8, 2009 5:37:15 PM

  3. From my pending article on this:

    More shenanigans in Albany! At this hour, the New York state Republicans are announcing that "Hiram Monserrate and Pedro Espada Jr. - are poised to announce that they have decided to cross the aisle and caucus with the Republicans out of anger at Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith." Dean Skelos, a Republican, has replaced Smith as Senate Majority Leader. This from the NYT, NYDN, GOP, AP, and WNBC, as further reports indicate the floor fighting has broken out over two key issues: the removal of Sen. Neil Breslin (D-Albany) as Senate president. He was replaced, 32-30, by Sen. George Winner, (R-Utica), which shows that 2 Dems (Moserrate and Espada) are voting with the GOP.

    The second issue is, of course, gay marriage, which was to die in committee if not voted on before the end of the session on June 22. Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr. (D-South Bronx), the most vociferous opponent of the gay-marriage bill, was said to be considering changing parties if Sen. Smith (D-St. Albans) brought the bill to a vote. With the bill beginning to gain undecided votes, Diaz was pulling out all the stops to prevent its passage, along with Sen. George Onorato (R-Astoria).

    I still strongly suspect, as do some media pundits around NYC, that there was a back-room deal between Smith and Diaz NOT to put the gay-marriage bill up for a vote. But if Smith saw a clear mandate from the Senate to bring a vote (and made a motion on the floor), Diaz would declare Jihad on the remaining Senate Democrats.

    This after a HUGE turnout of registered voters in support of gay marriage at Pride events in Staten Island, Queens, Hudson Valley, and Utica (!) over the weekend. I personally marched with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Chelsea) in Queens Pride to show my support for this issue.

    Sure enough, Monday morning came, and fireworks went off in Albany. Did gay marriage fracture the Senate Dems?

    As I see it, gay marrige is a dead issue in New York for the time being, with these developments.

    Posted by: Nathan James | Jun 8, 2009 5:38:18 PM

  4. So much for gay marriage this year. Toast. Next year, maybe.

    Posted by: Yeek | Jun 8, 2009 5:39:33 PM

  5. How incredibly shameful and ridiculous. I'm embarrassed to be a New Yorker today...

    Posted by: ichabod | Jun 8, 2009 5:44:44 PM

  6. This is so stupid and this is why people have no faith in their politicians. What a bunch of back stabbers, all of them.

    Posted by: KFLO | Jun 8, 2009 5:47:57 PM

  7. A very sad day for New York... These idiots in the Senate need to be voted out of office.. People need to wake up and pay attention for whom they are voting ... people with half a brain need to run for office!

    This is a huge set-back for marriage equality in NY... I'm furious!

    Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 8, 2009 5:58:59 PM

  8. Gays have their marching orders -- target these two switchers and run them out of office through all legal means necessary.

    Cross us at your peril. That's the only way any lawmaker will respect us and our movement.

    Posted by: Dan | Jun 8, 2009 5:59:20 PM

  9. Montserrate is charged with beating and cutting his girlfriend. There's a video!


    Espada doesn't even live in his district, but instead his real house is in Westchester!


    Posted by: Alex | Jun 8, 2009 6:10:57 PM

  10. I fail to see how Diaz is involved. If Diaz didn't want the vote on marriage equality and had made a backroom deal with Smith, then why would he want Smith out of power? If it's because Smith was going to bring it up anyway and Diaz doesn't think Skelos would bring it up for a vote, then wouldn't Diaz also vote to overthrow? As far as I can tell, both Espada and Monserrate were "yes" votes on marriage equality. I don't think this had anything to do with marriage equality, but everything with backroom politics.

    Posted by: Henkkon | Jun 8, 2009 6:24:59 PM

  11. The why.............

    both defectors are under ethics investigations from their own party and the deal cut with repubs is that with the repubs in charge the ethic complaints get dropped

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Jun 8, 2009 6:27:18 PM

  12. Evil triumphs. It only took five months for the Dems to sell us all out. Bastards.

    Posted by: Roscoe | Jun 8, 2009 6:37:04 PM

  13. Wow, and I thought California was a mess....

    Posted by: Mike | Jun 8, 2009 6:44:51 PM

  14. Is there a Recall procedure in New York?

    Back in the 1990s, when the GOP took control of the CA Assembly, the Dems were able to maintain control for several months by wooing a handful of GOP members to back the Democrat for Speaker. These members were then targeted for recall in their own districts and taken out. If legal in New York, that could be an option for progressives to take out these rebel Dems.

    Posted by: Clay | Jun 8, 2009 8:14:08 PM

  15. The real elephant in the room is not the GOP symbol but the infatuation of Dems with "identity" politics,i.e. choosing leaders based on race or ethnicity. Patterson, our accidental Gov. is a sad joke, and who ever heard of this Sen. Smith before 2009? But as a progressive I'm supposed to button my lip when white folks are shunted aside so that others of dubious qualities are elevated! MLK's words about the content of a man's character and not the color of his skin have been forgotten. Dems, reap what you sow.

    Posted by: Contrarian | Jun 8, 2009 8:20:06 PM

  16. Is it possible to call for a recall election or a special election for their seats?

    I mean, they ran for office on a certain platform. Now they're changing it willy nilly.

    Posted by: Philip Wester | Jun 8, 2009 8:30:46 PM

  17. They are both willing to sacrifice the brightest hopes of thousands of gay and lesbian New Yorker for short term political gain for themselves.

    Please call them, loud and clear, to let them know what you think of this trade off.

    Posted by: elcamino | Jun 8, 2009 9:33:49 PM

  18. no recall procedure in new york state senate...

    Posted by: daftpunkydavid | Jun 8, 2009 9:34:54 PM

  19. When will NYC secede from NY State? It's shameful that these Albany rubes are empowered to make decisions about our future. The city pours money into the State economy and we get nothing in return. The city should secede now. Let's see how long Albany lasts with tax revenue from Buffalo and Rochester.

    Posted by: Bondi | Jun 8, 2009 10:11:23 PM

  20. A lot of the anti-gay legislators are from the NYC metropolitan area: Queens, Nassau County and the Bronx, not Rochester and Buffalo.

    The problem is HERE not THERE.

    Posted by: JeffNYC | Jun 8, 2009 11:01:47 PM

  21. Contrarian

    "............But as a progressive........"

    No progressive would ever say what you said.

    Do you even know what the progressive movement is?

    At best you are a blue dog dem though I suspect a conservative troll is more likely


    Both of these guys are scum who the Dems had under investigation for ethic violations. They are trying to save themselves from investigations and loss of power by siding with repubs in this coup but an actual party switch would see their constituents voting them out.

    Basically staying dems so they can get re-elected but stabbing the party in the back to squash the Senate investigations against them

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Jun 8, 2009 11:12:39 PM

  22. So ... Monserrate is the guy who got arrested for stabbing somebody with a broken glass?

    Posted by: Distingué Traces | Jun 8, 2009 11:26:40 PM

  23. @JIMMYBOYO: Can't the senate investigations continue anyway? Or do you need a majority vote for that?

    Isn't it telling how the Republicans are willing to use these criminal dirtbags for their own gain? Desperate geezers clinging to power by all means possible.

    Posted by: Philip Wester | Jun 8, 2009 11:50:39 PM

  24. See, part of the Gay Agenda is to cause upset and turmoil in legislative bodies all over America. We plant a few spies, a few moles, ask to get married, spend a few bucks here, have a martini or three there, tap a toe in the RR with that law maker, have our Gay under-age legislative aid send an email to the "bachelor" law maker. Before you know it, the chamber floor is a writhing, snarling, cat fight! Albany is just the beginning.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Jun 9, 2009 1:13:40 AM

  25. Note to Democrats:

    Nominate more loyal candidates next year.

    Posted by: John | Jun 9, 2009 1:45:54 AM

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