By Tom Precious
ALBANY – Senate Republicans tomorrow will huddle as a group – in private, of course – for the first time since their leader, Dean Skelos, last week cut a deal with five breakaway Democrats to keep the GOP in partial control of the chamber.
The gathering will be in the majority conference room – as in the third floor room at the Capitol that Republicans will get to keep come January – at noon. Officials say next year’s legislative session will be the topic on the table. No doubt some of the talking – likely without staffers in the room – will be about committee jobs and some leadership titles, which determine extra stipends beyond a lawmaker’s base pay of $79,500, now that some sort of sharing will have to be done with the five independent Democrats. And maybe rank-and-file lawmakers will get to hear a better idea specifically about how the "dual leadership" deal between Skelos and Sen. Jeff Klein, a Bronx Democrat, will work. And maybe what Senate rules need to change to make it all happen. And how a bill will become law. And how much say the five Democrats will really have over the creation of the state budget next year. And will there be any room assignment gifts — always a cherished thing in Albany — to those helping to keep the Senate GOP in partial control. And, of course, they might hear just how Skelos can assure them of trying to keep this deal from falling apart over the next two years.