In a move that is sure to send shockwaves throughout New York State – Republicans may have once again regained control of the State Senate.
On Monday afternoon, June 8, Democratic State Senators Hiram Monserrate from Queens and Pedro Espada Jr. from the Bronx announced that they would caucus with the Republicans reversing the Democrats 32-30 majority and seemingly returning control to the Republicans.
Under the agreement, which many pundits are terming a coup, Long Island Republican Senator Dean Skelos would retake the Senate Majority Leader position while Espada Jr. would become the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. According to reports, Moserrate would reportedly become the Chair of the Senate Rules Committee under the plan.
“I am a life-long Democrat and remain a loyal Democrat,” Monserrate said in a statement. “After today’s proceedings, I am proud to form a bi-partisan coalition that has elected the first Latino President pro Tempore of the New York State Senate, my colleague, the Honorable Pedro Espada Jr. We look forward to conferencing with fellow Democrats to ensure that real reforms become a reality in the state of New York.”
Many details remain unclear, and Queens Democratic Senator Malcolm Smith – who currently holds the Majority Leader post – said that the flip-flop would not hold up.
“This was an illegal and unlawful attempt to gain control of the Senate and reverse the will of the people who voted for a Democratic Majority,” Malcolm Smith spokesperson Austin Shafran said in a statement sent to reporters. “Nothing has changed, Senator Malcolm A. Smith remains the duly elected Temporary President and Majority Leader. The real Senate Majority is anxious to get back to governing, and will take immediate steps to get us back to work.”