Independent Democratic Conference

When the New York State Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference joined in a majority coalition with Republicans in 2012, it claimed that the arrangement would provide more up-or-down floor votes on progressive legislation.  In announcing a new intention to caucus with Democrats following this November’s elections, the IDC is claiming that the arrangement will provide….more up-or-down votes on progressive legislation.  How can both claims be true?  That question and others related to political power-sharing arrangements are explored with this week’s guest on the Campbell Conversations—IDC

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Two Democratic factions in the New York State Senate say they are joining to form what could be a strong Democratic majority in the Senate, leaving Republicans, who up until now have ruled the chamber in a coalition government, out of power.

Zack Seward / WXXI

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is downplaying the chances of any major agreements before the legislative session ends later this month.

The governor, who has already vowed to replace the current Senate leadership coalition of Republicans and breakaway Democrats, says he does not expect any deals on big ticket issues before the legislature leaves for the summer.

“We have some clean up items,” Cuomo said. “I don’t expect us to do any major initiatives.”

The ruling coalition in the state Senate has grown by one member. Sen. Tony Avella, of Queens, has left the minority Democrats to join the governing coalition of Republicans and Independent Democrats.

Avella is a progressive-leaning Democrat who’s been called a maverick. He says he’s become convinced he can get more accomplished by joining the Senate’s ruling coalition, which includes all of the Republicans and a few break away Independent Democrats.  

nysenate.gov

Syracuse-area state Senator Dave Valesky says the bipartisan coalition that governs the New York Senate was successful this year.

A key member of the New York State Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference says the group does not foresee joining with the rest of the Democrats to overcome Republican resistance to a number of end-of-session issues, including public financing of campaigns.
 

In the wake of a series of political corruption cases out of Albany in recent weeks, campaign finance reform has become a popular issue in the state capitol.  Among the proposals for reforming the way money is used in political campaigns, is one from the Independent Democratic Conference. The group is wrapping up a set of statewide hearings on their plan today in Albany.

The second half of New York’s legislative session begins today and it’s likely to be dominated by the response to on going bribery and corruption scandals that came to light while lawmakers were on spring break.

State Sen. Malcolm Smith, a former New York Senate majority leader, has been arrested and indicted in a far reaching bribery and corruption scandal.

New York State lawmakers are set to return to the Capitol Wednesday following a two-week break for the President’s Day holiday.  Lawmakers have plenty to work on in the next few weeks leading up to the start of the state’s fiscal year, including whether to pass a minimum wage hike as part of the state budget.

The experimental governing coalition in the New York State Senate passed its first test, on the first full day of session, when senators approved a sweeping gun control package urged by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The new iteration of the New York state Senate will look different in 2013 with the new power sharing agreement in place between Republicans and breakaway Democrats, and two central New York lawmakers will be in the thick of it.

nysenate.gov

A potentially significant new chapter in New York's political history will be written in January, as the State Senate's Independent Democratic Caucus joins with the Republican Caucus to form a coalition majority.  On this edition of the Campbell Conversations, State Senator Dave Valesky, a founding member of the Independent Democratic group, discusses how this new arrangement will work, and why joining with the Republicans may actually bring more progressive pieces of legislation to the Senate floor.

Some supporters of the new state Senate coalition between Republicans and the Independent Democrat Caucus say it will keep upstate New York concerns on the table. Some area politicians believe that wasn't the case when Democrats had control of the New York state Senate in 2009 and 2010.

New York state Senate Republicans dampened expectations that their new governing coalition would move quickly on progressive issues championed by Democrats, including a minimum wage increase and public financing of campaigns.

The new governing coalition of the New York state Senate has received some criticism that it is leaving out minorities. But one of the two co-leaders of the Senate is defending the coalition, which includes five Independent Democrats and 30 Republicans.

The new co-leader of the New York stat Senate, Senator Jeff Klein, says he knows the new coalition of five Democrats and around 30 Republicans will have to prove itself in the coming months and deliver on key pieces of legislation. But he says they stand a better chance of success than if just the Democrats alone were in charge of the Senate.

The newly-created New York state Senate leadership coalition has further divided Democrats. Governor Andrew Cuomo has offered his conditional support, and at least one other party leader -- Democrat state party co-chairwoman Stephanie Miner -- agrees.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has maintained that he has stayed out of the New York state Senate leadership fight, is now endorsing a newly formed coalition of Senate Republicans and five Democrats, but with some conditions.

The leadership fight in the New York state Senate has been resolved, with a break-away Democratic faction joining with Republicans to form a new governing coalition that involves sharing the title of Temporary President of the Senate. 

New York’s Lieutenant Governor weighed in on the leadership fight going on in the state Senate, saying the senators should put aside partisanship and try to work together.  

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

While the balance of the New York State senate remains unclear, as votes continue to be counted in a pair of close Senate races, activists are calling on a breakaway political coalition to stick with the Democrats. A coalition of union and community groups believe some important issues depend on it.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he is staying out of the on-going battle for control of the New York state Senate, maintaining that he will work with whoever ultimately wins the struggle.

A leading Democratic Senator says wayward Democrats should get in line with the others in their party, and form a majority to run the Senate when the new session starts in January. 

One New York state Senate seat that has been hotly contested in recent years in central New York, will not be this year.  Republicans have not been able to come up with anyone to run against Democrat Dave Valesky in the 53rd Senate District.