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The official statements on The Deal

By Tom Precious

ALBANY -- To make it all official, here is the GOP/IDC statement on the big power-sharing deal announcement, and the Democratic response. (Guess which statement is longer).

           Establishes New Governing Model for NY State Senate, Ensures Unprecedented Progress for NY

      Senator Dean G. Skelos, leader of the Senate Republican Conference,
and Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, leader of the Independent Democratic
Conference, today joined together to announce an historic bipartisan
partnership to continue the tremendous progress that has been achieved over
the past two years in New York State.  This new bipartisan governing
coalition guarantees a fiscally responsible, fully functional Senate that
will continue to produce positive results for all New Yorkers.

      Two years ago, Independent Democrats and Senate Republicans put
partisan differences aside to end the dysfunction, gridlock and reckless
fiscal policies of the previous Senate leadership.  This partnership
returned function and order to the Senate Chamber, restored fiscal
integrity, and produced remarkable accomplishments that have benefited all
New Yorkers.  Today’s agreement marks a bold new chapter in this
partnership, that will allow the Senate to continue pushing New York State
forward, while ensuring that there will be no returning to the failed
leadership of the past.

      Of tremendous importance is the bipartisan coalition government’s
commitment to working with Governor Cuomo on progressive policy issues that
benefit all New Yorkers in the next legislative session.

      Senator Skelos said, “The Senate Republican Conference has worked
closely with the Independent Democratic Conference and Governor Cuomo to
bring historic progress to New York.  We’ve brought spending under control,
ended Albany dysfunction, and consistently delivered the bipartisan results
New Yorkers need and deserve -- even on many of the most difficult issues.
Senator Klein has proven to be a thoughtful and effective leader, and I
look forward to partnering with him to move this state forward.”

      Senator Klein said, “Over the past two years, members of the IDC and
Senate Republicans have shown that the best way to overcome New York’s
biggest challenges is by working in a constructive, bipartisan way.
Legislating is a deliberative, cooperative process—not a spectator sport.
Having dedicated the past two years to a serious, policy-driven agenda,
this agreement delivers on the IDC’s pledge to become a permanent third
conference within the State Senate and to have a major voice in all policy
decisions moving forward. Having worked together over the past two years, I
know that Senator Skelos is not only an effective leader, but is as
committed as I am to delivering major bipartisan results for all New

      Under the unprecedented agreement, the Independent Democratic
Conference will be formally recognized as a third, permanent Senate
conference. Senator Klein and Senator Skelos will assume the roles of
Conference Leader for their respective conferences and will administer
joint and equal authority over (1) the daily senate agenda (a/k/a the
“Active List,” which lays out which bills will be voted on each day), (2)
the state budget, (3) appointments to state and local boards, and (4)
leadership and committee assignments for their respective conferences.
Under the agreement, coalition leaders will need to work together to lead
the Senate forward. The new agreement will also provide for a process by
which the title of Temporary President will alternate between the two
conference leaders every two weeks. Therefore, the role of the temporary
president will be constitutionally fulfilled at all times.

       This partnership will be memorialized in the Senate’s rules for the
upcoming legislative session. The two conferences, which will form the
governing coalition, will be recognized in the 2013-2014 Senate Rules as
the Senate Majority Coalition.

      Senator Malcolm Smith (D-Queens) also announced that he has joined
the Independent Democratic Conference as its fifth member.

      Senator Smith said, “I’m thrilled that today I’m not only joining the
IDC, but I’m becoming an immediate part of this historic and bipartisan
governing coalition. Our state’s biggest issues are too important to
address on a narrowly focused, partisan basis. Over the past two years,
Senator Klein and his colleagues in the IDC have shown that they’re driven
by policy, not politics. They have delivered on an impressive bipartisan
agenda, have stayed true to their Democratic principles, and have laid the
groundwork for an historic bipartisan model of governing. I would like to
thank Senator Klein and all of my new IDC colleagues for welcoming me into
the conference and for committing to move New York forward in an exciting,
bi-partisan, and common-sense way. We have made tremendous strides over the
past two years, but as we all recognize, there’s plenty of work still to be
done. I’m very confident that the new governing model we’re announcing
today is the best way to get the results that New York’s families and
businesses need.”

      Senator Tom Libous (R-C-I, Binghamton) said, “Today, we are taking
steps to formalize our existing partnership through a new Senate Majority
Coalition, which we believe is the best, most effective way to ensure that
true bipartisanship and meaningful progress will continue in Albany.  My
constituents want Democrats and Republicans to work together to achieve
real results that improve their lives, and that's what we are going to do
in cooperation with the IDC.”

      Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn) said, “Two years ago,
we realized that in order to serve our constituents effectively, we needed
to take the politics out of policymaking. That’s what we’ve done since
forming the IDC and that’s what we’ll continue to do as part of the new
coalition government. Our constituents, particularly mine, cannot afford
the type of political gamesmanship that has, in the past, overrun a healthy
and functioning legislature. We’re here to accomplish the people’s business
and that’s why we’ve formed this historic bipartisan coalition.”

      Senator George D. Maziarz (R-Newfane) said, “Today is a great day for
all New Yorkers as we move forward and announce the new Senate Majority
Coalition.  I can work with anyone to get things done for the people of my
district and am excited to continue on the path to move New York forward --
and doing so in a bi-partisan fashion.”

      Senator David Valesky (D-Oneida) “Today is a great day for government
in New York State. By building a bipartisan coalition of Senators from
across the state, we will remake the New York State Senate with a bold new
model, where partnership is valued over partisanship, and a focus on
important issues will be at the forefront. This coalition will enable
stability, functionality and a wide-ranging legislative agenda that will
benefit the people of New York. I look forward to working with my
colleagues in a productive legislative session that will hopefully serve as
an example for governance.”

            Senator John A. DeFrancisco (R-C-I, Syracuse) said, “My
constituents are looking for a bipartisan government to get things done.
We’ve had great success working with the Independent Democrat Conference
over the past two years to pass on-time budgets that reduced state
spending, lowered taxes and helped create new private sector jobs.  The new
coalition will allow this team that has worked so well together to continue
the progress we’ve made for the benefit of all the people of this state.”

      Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland) said, “In order to bring
meaningful results to New York families and businesses, we need to break
down party barriers and work across the aisle. This bipartisan agreement
will help us do exactly that. By taking the politics out of policymaking, I
know that we’ll achieve big things for all New Yorkers.”

      Senator Martin Golden (R-C, Brooklyn) said, “The new bipartisan
coalition will be an effective way to ensure that we continue to move New
York forward.  The people of this state want their representatives to work
together to address the issues that impact their lives and, particularly
important to the people of my district, work with other state and federal
leaders to help us recover and rebuild from the devastation of hurricane

      Senator John Bonacic (R,C,I-Mount Hope) said, “The recently formed
coalition between the Senate Republican Conference and the Independent
Democrat Conference is good news for the hardworking people of our great
state.  The coalition, which has been working together for the past two
years with Governor Cuomo, will ensure a functional and productive Senate
working in a bipartisan way to provide solutions to the great challenges we
all face in the coming year.”


Statement from Senate Democratic Spokesman Mike Murphy 

“This is not a coalition but a coup against all New Yorkers who voted for Democratic control of the Senate and a progressive state government. Sadly, the real victims of today's announcement are the people of our State, whose clearly expressed desire for progress on a host of issues will now be scuttled. Senate Democrats will remain fierce advocates for them and the issues New Yorkers want to see implemented like standing up for women’s health, passing real campaign finance reform, raising the minimum wage and enacting common sense gun laws.”

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri |

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski |