posted on December 05, 2012 11:55
Senate Republicans and the Independent Democratic Conference are joining forces in Albany.
The deal between the GOP and the five-member IDC will feature a rotating Senate presidency and equal control over committee assignments and other key functions of the chamber. The Senate presidency will rotate between Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos and IDC head Senator Jeff Klein every two weeks. Analysts say the move bolsters the IDC as a permanent third conference in the chamber.
As expected, Senate Democrats are livid over this news. Democratic spokesperson Mike Murphy calls the coalition a "coup against all New Yorkers who voted for Democratic control of the Senate and a progressive state government." Some Democratic senators are treading more lightly, saying they hope the coalition will be able to work to bring real reform to government in Albany.
Klein says the new bipartisan coalition will work to increase state minimum wage, which currently stands at $7.25. Governor Cuomo supports the measure that would raise the amount to $8.50, but Senate Republicans have previously blocked the bill.