“On July 9th, the New York State Senate returned to session, worked into the early hours of the following morning and passed 135 bills vital to the economic well-being of local governments across the state. If these bills were not passed, New York faced the potential loss of billions in revenue and hundreds of thousands of jobs.
"We as leaders of our respective conferences have agreed on a framework for historic rules reforms that will help us move forward to improve the operation of the state Senate.
The reforms encompass many of the recommendations of the Senate Temporary Committee on Rules Reform, as reported on April 21st as well as reforms advanced on June 8th which we believe will create a more open, bipartisan and member-driven body.
“Once again, Senate Republicans have put themselves first and the people last. By blocking legislation vital to the economic well-being of local governments across the state, New York now faces the loss of billions in revenue and hundreds of thousands of jobs. By holding New Yorkers hostage for their own personal gain, Republicans have jeopardized legislation with a fiscal impact of over $7 billion, including federal stimulus dollars for healthcare and education and funding for affordable housing and mortgage assistance.
“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary action. We applaud and congratulate Governor Paterson’s bold decision to appoint Richard Ravitch as Lieutenant Governor and help end the gridlock in the Senate.
“There are a number of public proposals regarding a governing agreement for the Senate which the Democratic Conference will be discussing tomorrow. We are encouraged by the progress that has been made thus far and will continue to bridge the gap on a reasonable solution that will allow the Senate to get back to passing legislation critical to millions of New Yorkers.”
“Two hundred and thirty-three years ago, on this day, a band of courageous patriots representing the hearts and minds of the new world gave birth to our nation. Founded upon the sacred principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, an idea was born- one that has lit the world for over two centuries.
"The Senate Democratic Conference has informed Senators Skelos and Espada that we would like to conduct a public leaders meeting tomorrow which will allow us the time to work on arrangements and an agenda to ensure a productive negotiation."
(Albany, NY)- Today, a three-week long stalemate which had stalled all legislation in the Senate came to an end as the Senate Majority obtained the 32 votes necessary to achieve quorum and began to pass critical legislation. After obtaining a quorum through the presence of 32 members in the Chamber, and with Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins as the Presiding Officer, the Senate unanimously passed major and non-controversial legislation. If these bills were not passed, New York faced the potential loss of billions in revenue and hundreds of thousands of jobs.
“Obviously this is an extraordinary situation and tempers are flaring, but we must maintain a level of civility and decorum befitting a Senator and representative of the people of New York,” said Senate President and Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith and Democratic Conference Leader John L. Sampson.
“It is with great personal sadness that myself and millions of other fans learned this evening of the passing of Michael Jackson. It is always a tragedy to lose someone at such a young age, but it is particularly difficult when children lose a parent like this. Michael transcended race and genre in his music, and brought joy to millions through his art. His contributions to the music and entertainment industry are immeasurable, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and fans across the globe at this time.”
“Unlike the Senate Republicans today, Senate Democrats will fulfill their constitutional duty and attend the extraordinary session tomorrow at 3 PM despite concerns our Conference has raised about the constitutionality of the special session,” said Austin Shafran, spokesman for Senate President Malcolm A. Smith.
Immediately following today’s extraordinary session, Senate President and Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith, Democratic Conference Leader John L. Sampson and members of the Senate Majority Conference will hold a press availability. WHERE: Majority Conference Room 332, 3rd Floor, Capitol WHEN: Wednesday, June 24th, Immediately following session
(Albany, NY)- Today, Senate President and Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith and Senate Democratic Conference Leader John L. Sampson sent a letter to Governor David A. Paterson addressing legal concerns the Conference has with the extraordinary session called for by the Governor.
(Albany, NY) – Yesterday, the New York State Senate, led by President and Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith and Democratic Conference Leader John L. Sampson, passed legislation extending the Power for Jobs program which provides low cost power to businesses and non-profits across the state. If the program was not extended, New York faced the potential loss of over 250,000 jobs.
Senate President and Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith, Democratic Conference Leader John L. Sampson and members of the Senate Majority Conference will hold a press availability at 8 PM today. WHERE: Majority Conference Room 332, 3rd Floor, Capitol WHEN: 8 PM, June 23rd, 2009 COORDINATES (8 – 8:15 PM):
"Today, the Senate Republicans again brought disgrace and shame to the Senate when they attempted to conduct another sham legislative session. Governor Paterson called a special session so the Senate could act on legislation critical to millions of New Yorkers, but once again, the Senate Republicans showed they are so desperate for power, they tried to prevent real work from getting done. We are governing.
“Ahead of the Court’s call for the Senate to settle its leadership dispute by negotiating a governing agreement, the Senate Democratic Conference proposed a fair, reasonable and bipartisan solution that allows us to get back to passing legislation critical to millions of New Yorkers. Yet after three such proposals, Senate Republicans have failed to entertain any proposal that does not begin and end with complete control of the Senate in their hands.
(New York, NY)- Today, the Senate Democratic Conference renewed their call for a fair, reasonable and bipartisan solution to ensure that the extraordinary session Governor David A. Paterson has indicated he will call for will result in the passage of critical and time sensitive legislation.
(Albany, NY)- Today, the Albany County Supreme Court ruled that the issue of control over the State Senate was for the Senate to decide and not the court. The court also recognized only the validity of the January 7, 2009 election of Senator Malcolm A. Smith as Temporary President of the New York State Senate.
Thank you to all of those who participated in the New York State Senate's fist ever online Town Hall. Since we're always striving to serve the people of New York better, and this was our first attempt at an event like this, we would appreciate your feedback on how we can improve the experience.