ALBANY – Senate Democrats had a simple solution to deal with what they called an unfair redistricting bill on the floor of the GOP-controlled Senate this morning: take a walk.
ALBANY -- Angry Senate Democrats, who say GOP leaders promised them four hours to debate the redistricting bill, walked off the Senate floor just before midnight as a protest. Republicans quickly voted, and with the help of four renegade Democrats, passed the measure 36-0.
Senate Democrats took their wrath out on Senate Republicans, as well as Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo for giving the Legislature a message of necessity to bypass the legally authorized 24-hour aging process for new bills. They called on Cuomo to veto the new lines, which were also passed earlier in the evening by the Assembly.
“Albany has not changed. Albany is regressing back to the way things were done before,’’ said Senate Minority Leader John Sampson, a Brooklyn Democrat.
He called Senate Republican conference a “dictatorship.’’
Sen. Michael Gianaris, a Queens Democrat, lashed out at the deal – cut by majority party lawmakers in both houses and the governor – for the new district lines and an accompanying constitutional amendment to somewhat alter the process by which redistricting is done beginning in 2022.
“This is not a better product and it’s not a better process,’’ said Gianaris, who Cuomo once praised in 2010 for his ideas on how to make the redistricting process more fair.
“We hope he does the right thing,’’ Gianaris said of a veto.
But that’s not on the governor’s mind, a senior Cuomo administration official said; the governor is expected to approve the lines as early as tomorrow.
And Senate Republicans offered a brief response to the mass walkout by Senate Democrats. “Rules are rules. We bent over backward to give them additional time for debate,’’ said Scott Reif, a Senate GOP spokesman.
-- Tom Precious