A year ago today, chaos reigned in the state Senate after two Democrats allied themselves with Republicans to get a majority of members and take over leadership of the chamber. For a month, Democrats — who hold a 32-30 majority — disputed that the GOP controlled the Senate. Democrats locked the Senate doors and manned the podium from which the president presides over proceedings, but Republicans pressed forward. The acrimony reached a climax when Democrats and Republicans held dueling Senate sessions. Ultimately, the two Democrats returned to their party’s conference. Sen. Pedro Espada, D-Bronx, was given the position of Senate president in exchange for rejoining Democrats.
Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson, D-Brooklyn, released a video today about last June’s coup. He touted some of the changes Democrats have made. This is an excerpt from the video:
“We transformed the rules of the Senate to make the legislative process more open, accountable, and inclusive. We gave all members an opportunity to advance legislation with a straight up or down vote on their bills. Equalized resources for all Senators regardless of party. And used new technology to make every legislative action available to the public through live web broadcasts and the documentation of every legislative meeting in an easily searchable online database. Then, putting partisanship aside and the people first, we worked across the aisle to pass bipartisan legislation.”