Both Democrats and Republicans issued proposals for bipartisan operating agreements this afternoon. Both would be in effect through Dec. 31, 2010, when the current terms in the Legislature expire.
Both plans call for having co-presidents pro tempore. Republicans would have them alternate weekly during the first few months of the legislative calendar or daily in June or beyond the legislative calendar. Democrats propose alternating daily during scheduled session days and weekly when the Senate isn’t in regular session.
Depending on which co-president was acting on a certain session day, that person would designate a presiding officer and the other conference would designate a floor leader.
Republicans said they want resources divided evenly between the 31 Democrats on one side and the 31 Republicans and one dissident Democrat on the other (Sen. Pedro Espada, D-Bronx). The Democratic plan did not speak to this issue.
Republicans provide more detail on what equal division means: “It would evenly divide the operations of the Senate and treat individual senators on both sides of the aisle fairly by ensuring that all members have equal levels of staff, and equal access to services such as printing, mail, and community projects (member items, or pork). It would also empower individual members to bring bills on the floor to a vote.”
Democrats’ plan would set up a non-partisan fiscal office “to serve each member equally and confidentially. Each conference shall also have its own Finance Committee Oversight Office to serve its own members.”
The Democrats’ plan would designate the acting co-president pro tempore to assume the governor’s duties if he is out of state or temporarily unable to perform his duties. The GOP plan doesn’t address this issue.
Also in both the proposals:
— Each committee would have equal representation from both parties and co-chairs.
— Both would have committees establish “active” lists of bills going to the floor for a vote.