New York State Senate
|New York State Senate|
|2015 session start:||January 7, 2015|
|Website:||Official Senate Page|
|Senate President:||Robert Duffy (D)|
|Majority Leader:||Dean Skelos, (R)|
|Minority leader:||Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D)|
Democratic Party (31)
Republican Party (32)
|Length of term:||2 years|
|Authority:||Art III, Sec. 3, New York Constitution|
|Salary:||$79,500/year + per diem|
|Last Election:||November 4, 2014 (63 seats)|
|Next election:||November 8, 2016 (63 seats)|
|Redistricting:||New York Legislature has control|
- 1 Sessions
- 2 Ethics and transparency
- 3 Elections
- 4 Redistricting
- 5 Senators
- 6 Senate Standing Committees
- 7 History
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
Both Senators and Assembly members are elected on even numbered years for two-year terms without term limits. In a 1964 federal court order, issued pursuant to a reapportionment case, legislators elected in 1964 and 1965 were limited to one-year terms, but two-year terms commenced again with the 1966 election.
Although Democrats have a numerical majority, a coalition gives Republicans control of the chamber.
As of January 2015, New York is one of 19 states that is under divided government and is therefore not one of the state government trifectas.
Article III of the New York Constitution outlines the legislative power for New York's government. Article III does not limit when the New York State Legislature, which the Senate is a part of, can convene in regular session. However, Section 18 of Article III does contain provisions related to special sessions of the Legislature. Section 18 states that a special session can be called by a petition of request from two-thirds of both legislative houses.
- See also: Dates of 2015 state legislative sessions
In 2015, the Legislature will be session from January 7 through December 31 (Projected).
- See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
In 2014, the Legislature was in session from January 8 through June 23.
Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included a raise in the minimum wage, a cut in corporate tax rates, rebuilding airports and other infrastructure, legalizing medical marijuana and property tax rebates.
- See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 9 to December 31.
Gun control topped the list to be addressed by legislators in 2013. Other major issues included raising the minimum wage, securing federal dollars for victims of Superstorm Sandy, education, job creation, legalizing casinos off of Native American lands and restrictions to the New York City Police Department's stop-and-frisk procedures.
Following the December 14, 2012 school shooting in Newton, Connecticut, Gov. Cuomo sought to make gun control a major issue in 2013. To that end, one of the first things the Legislature did in its 2013 session was to pass a tougher assault weapons ban that included restrictions on ammunition and the sale of guns, as well as provisions to keep guns from the mentally ill who make threats. New York was the first state to pass new laws after the tragedy.
In July 2013, amid a legislative session riddled with political corruption, Governor Andrew Cuomo established an investigative committee by executive order under the Moreland Act and New York Executive Law. The committee, joined by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, is tasked with examining public corruption, including potential wrongdoing by legislators in campaign fundraising. Any branch of the state government is under the authority of the committee, which will recommend changes to law and ethics rules in addition to the possibility of referring any misconduct cases for prosecution. A preliminary report was due by December 1, 2013, with a final report expected by the end of 2014.
- See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions
In 2012, the Senate was in session from January 4 through June 22.
In 2011, the Senate was in session from January 5 to June 20.
In 2010, the Senate convened its regular session on January 6. The Legislature remained in regular session throughout the year. Additionally, the Legislature was in an ongoing special session, which convened in 2009, dealing with issues of deficit reduction.
Role in state budget
- See also: New York state budget
- Budget instruction guidelines are sent to state agencies in July or August.
- State agencies submit budget requests in September.
- Agency hearings are held in October and November.
- The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the New York State Legislature on or before the second Tuesday following the first day of the annual meeting of the legislature, which typically falls in mid-January.
- The legislature adopts a budget in March. A simply majority is needed to pass a budget.
- The fiscal year begins in April.
The governor is constitutionally required to submit a balanced budget. In turn, the legislature is required by statute to pass a balanced budget.
The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 which indicated that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. Among the challenges states faced were a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. New York was one of the 10 states that used cost-benefit analysis more than the rest of the states with respect to determining return on investment regarding state programs. In addition, these states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis with respect to large budget areas and when making policy decisions.
Ethics and transparency
Following the Money report
- See also: Following the Money 2014 Report
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending. According to the report, New York received a grade of B+ and a numerical score of 88, indicating that New York was "advancing" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.
Open States Transparency
The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. New York was given a grade of A in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data is to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A -- Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
- See also: New York State Senate elections, 2014
Elections for the office of New York State Senate took place in 2014. A primary election took place on September 9, 2014. The general election took place November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was July 10, 2014.
- See also: New York State Senate elections, 2012
The signature filing deadline was July 12, 2012 and the primary Election Day was September 13, 2012.
|2012 Donors, New York State Senate|
|New York State Senate Republican Campaign Cmte||$1,673,200|
|Senate Republican Campaign Cmte of New York||$1,471,625|
|New York State Trial Lawyers||$506,574|
|New York State United Teachers||$452,490|
|1199 Seiu United Healthcare Workers East||$414,400|
|Democratic Senate Campaign Cmte of New York||$413,000|
|New York State Republican Campaign Cmte||$406,000|
|New York State Republican Party||$395,000|
The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.
|2012 Margin of Victory, New York State Senate|
|District||Winner||Margin of Victory||Total Votes||Top Opponent|
|District 46||Cecilia F. Tkaczyk||0%||126,245||George Amedore|
|District 41||Terry W. Gipson||1.7%||122,328||Stephen Saland|
|District 40||Greg Ball||2.1%||127,316||Justin R. Wagner|
|District 7||Jack Martins||3.6%||112,026||Daniel S. Ross|
|District 6||Kemp Hannon||3.9%||113,225||Ryan E. Cronin|
|District 55||Ted O'Brien||4%||134,592||Sean Hanna|
|District 39||William Larkin||4.9%||104,667||Christopher W. Eachus|
|District 4||Philip Boyle||5.2%||103,263||Ricardo Montano|
|District 37||George Latimer||8.1%||118,810||Bob Cohen|
|District 43||Kathleen A. Marchione||10.7%||128,807||Robin Andrews|
- See also: New York State Senate elections, 2010
The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was July 22, 2010, and the primary Election Day was September 14, 2010.
|2010 Donors, New York State Senate|
|Democratic Senate Campaign Cmte of New York||$2,736,038|
|Senate Republican Campaign Cmte of New York||$2,634,450|
|1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East||$419,400|
|New York State Trial Lawyers||$407,700|
|New York State United Teachers||$391,010|
|Democratic Senate Campaign Cmte of Colorado||$326,262|
|New York State Correctional Officers||$273,600|
|Nassau County Republican Cmte||$250,000|
|New York State AFL-CIO||$194,160|
- See also: New York State Senate elections, 2008
The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was July 24, 2008, and the primary Election Day was September 9, 2008.
|2008 Donors, New York State Senate|
|Senate Republican Campaign Cmte Of New York||$6,157,046|
|New York State Democratic Party||$2,434,593|
|New York Democratic Senate Campaign Cmte||$638,868|
|New York State United Teachers||$383,940|
|1199 Seiu United Healthcare Workers East||$378,400|
|New York State Trial Lawyers||$317,000|
|Monroe County Republican Cmte||$211,982|
|Cmte to Re-elect Senator Joseph Bruno||$194,500|
|Nachbar, David R||$175,000|
|Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker||$174,503|
- See also: New York State Senate elections, 2006
Elections for the office of New York's State Senate consisted of a primary Election Day on September 12, 2006, and a general election on November 7, 2006.
|2006 Donors, New York State Senate|
|Senate Republican Campaign Cmte of New York||$2,984,698|
|Democratic Senate Campaign Cmte of New York||$462,000|
|New York State United Teachers||$319,747|
|1199 Seiu United Healthcare Workers East||$305,800|
|New York State Trial Lawyers||$247,940|
|New York State Correctional Officers||$202,924|
|Cmte to Re-elect Senator Joseph Bruno||$174,500|
|Friends of Joe Griffo||$161,647|
|New York State AFL-CIO||$139,940|
- See also: New York State Senate elections, 2004
Elections for the office of New York's State Senate consisted of a primary Election Day on September 14, 2004, and a general election on November 2, 2004.
|2004 Donors, New York State Senate|
|Senate Republican Campaign Cmte of New York||$2,244,047|
|New York State United Teachers||$295,493|
|Brisbane, Charles A||$294,011|
|New York State Trial Lawyers||$287,600|
|Democratic Senate Campaign Cmte of New York||$234,468|
|1199 Seiu United Healthcare Workers East||$220,200|
|Balboni for Senate||$204,500|
|New York State Afl-Cio||$144,250|
|Medical Society of the State of New York||$143,536|
- See also: New York State Senate elections, 2002
Elections for the office of New York's State Senate consisted of a primary Election Day on September 10, 2002, and a general election on November 5, 2002.
|2002 Donors, New York State Senate|
|Senate Republican Campaign Cmte of New York||$1,553,027|
|Eristoff, Andrew Sidamon||$1,369,563|
|New York Republican County Cmte||$943,118|
|Friends of Senator Libous||$407,185|
|New York State Trial Lawyers||$278,236|
|Friends of Noach Dear||$247,471|
|Democratic Senate Campaign Cmte of New York||$241,102|
|New York State United Teachers||$238,989|
|Farley, Hugh T||$178,779|
- See also: New York State Senate elections, 2000
Elections for the office of New York's State Senate consisted of a primary Election Day on September 12, 2000, and a general election on November 7, 2000.
|2000 Donors, New York State Senate|
|Farley, Hugh T||$1,345,510|
|Senate Republican Campaign Cmte of New York||$747,676|
|Democratic Senate Campaign Cmte of New York||$520,230|
|New York State Trial Lawyers||$212,556|
|New York State United Teachers||$157,848|
|Cmte to Re-elect Senator Bruno||$142,500|
|The Millennium Project||$77,000|
|Medical Society of the State of New York||$76,102|
|New York State Association of Realtors||$63,088|
Article 3, Section 7 of the New York Constitution states: No person shall serve as a member of the legislature unless he or she is a citizen of the United States and has been a resident of the state of New York for five years, and, except as hereinafter otherwise prescribed, of the assembly or senate district for the twelve months immediately preceding his or her election; if elected a senator or member of assembly at the first election next ensuing after a readjustment or alteration of the senate or assembly districts becomes effective, a person, to be eligible to serve as such, must have been a resident of the county in which the senate or assembly district is contained for the twelve months immediately preceding his or her election. No member of the legislature shall, during the time for which he or she was elected, receive any civil appointment from the governor, the governor and the senate, the legislature or from any city government, to an office which shall have been created, or the emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time.
| How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures |
If there is a vacancy in the senate, a special election must be held to fill the vacant seat. An election can be held as long the vacancy happened before April 1st in an election year. The person elected to fill the vacant seat serves for the remainder of the unexpired term.
- See also: Redistricting in New York
The New York Legislature is responsible for redistricting. While there is a six person commission on redistricting, known as the Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR), it only acts in an advisory role. The final deal must meet with approval from the Department of Justice.
New York received its 2010 census data on March 23, 2011. The state's growth rate was at 2.19%, well below the national rate of 9.7%. Redistricting became a major issue in the state prior to the November 2010 elections. Going into the elections, the organization NY Uprising asked all candidates to sign a pledge to support nonpartisan redistricting during the following legislative session. A majority of those who won in both chambers signed the pledge. Additionally, Governor Andrew Cuomo consistently reiterated his pledge to veto any new maps that were not drawn through a nonpartisan process. Meanwhile, Republicans added more friction to the process in September 2011 when they were said to be considering adding a 63rd seat to the Senate. Democrats balked, saying it didn't make sense to add a seat in the chamber when slow population growth caused the state to lose seats in Congress.
The two sides battled over the issue of redistricting during the entire 2011 session. Following a number of delays, LATFOR released proposed Senate and Assembly maps on January 26, 2012. The Senate plan included the additional 63rd seat. Gov. Cuomo continued to threaten to veto the maps, but began to tone down his rhetoric. On March 11, LATFOR filed a bill of their final plans, which closely resembled the maps they released two months earlier. Along with this, leaders offered a constitutional amendment that would set up a new bipartisan commission on redistricting following the next census in 2020. Following a walkout of Senate Democrats, the bill passed. Later that week the constitutional amendment passed. However, in order to become law, it must be passed by the next separately elected legislature and also approved by voters in a referendum. With that approved, Cuomo stated, "It’s over once and for all" and signed the maps into law.
- See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries
As of 2013, members of the New York Legislature are paid $79,500/year and per diem of $61/half day and $171/full day. Per diem varies and is tied to the federal rate.
Some legislators in New York are able to begin collecting a state pension while still serving in office and also receiving their normal salary. Under state law, if a lawmaker took office prior to 1995, they are eligible to begin collecting an annual pension once they turn 65. Those who took office after 1994 are not able to collect a pension while still in office. As of 2011, Rep. Herman Farrell (D) was the highest-paid state legislator, collecting his $113,500 salary as well as a pension of $81,619.
When sworn in
New York legislators assume office January 1st.
- See also: Partisan composition of state senates
|Party||As of January 2015|
List of current members
Senate Standing Committees
The New York Senate has 34 standing committees:
- Alcoholism and Drug Abuse
- Children and Families
- Civil Service and Pensions
- Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business
- Consumer Protection
- Corporations, Authorities and Commissions
- Crime Victims, Crime and Correction
- Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation
- Energy and Telecommunications
- Environmental Conservation
- Higher Education
- Housing, Construction and Community Development
- Infrastructure and Capital Investment
- Investigations and Government Operations
- Local Government
- Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities
- Racing, Gaming and Wagering
- Social Services
- Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs
Partisan balance 1992-2013
From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the New York State Senate for two years while the Republicans were the majority for 20 years. The New York State Senate is one of 13 state senates that was Republican for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013.
Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.
Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
SQLI and partisanship
The chart below depicts the partisanship of the New York state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. New York experienced a Democratic trifecta from 2009-2010. During half the years of the study, New York was ranked in the bottom-10. Its lowest ranking, finishing 43rd, occurred from 2005-2006, during a divided government. Its best ranking also occurred during a divided government, finishing 32nd in 2011.
- New York State Legislature
- New York State Assembly
- New York state legislative districts
- State legislative scorecards in New York
- The official website of the New York State Senate
- Official list of New York State Senators
- New York State Senate on Wikipedia
- census.gov, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," accessed May 15, 2014
- census.gov, "Census 2000 PHC-T-2. Ranking Tables for States: 1990 and 2000," accessed May 15, 2014
- New York State Senate, "Frequently Asked Questions," March 3, 2009 (dead link)
- wamc.org, "Another NYS Legislative Session Underway... Lawmakers Ready To Tackle Issues," accessed January 21, 2014
- Vermont Public Radio, "New York Lawmakers Face Major Issues In 2015," accessed January 21, 2014
- Epoch Times "After speech, Cuomo looks to get agenda approved," January 9, 2014
- Spokesman Review, "NY legislative leaders buckle down on gun controls," January 9, 2013
- Yahoo News, "NY seals 1st state gun laws since Newtown massacre," January 15, 2013
- uticaod.com, "Cuomo creates panel to investigate Legislature," July 2, 2013
- Poughkeepsie Journal, "Divisive issues to test Cuomo's popularity in 2nd year," January 9, 2012
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "2011 Legislative Sessions Calendar," accessed June 6, 2014(Archived)
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "2010 Legislative Sessions Calendar," accessed June 19, 2014(Archived)
- National Conference of State Legislatures "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
- National Association of State Budget Officers "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
- Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
- U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
- Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
- Follow the Money, "New York State Senate 2012 Campaign Contributions," accessed December 17, 2013
- Follow the Money, "New York Senate 2010 Campaign Contributions," accessed December 17, 2013
- Follow the Money, "New York Senate 2008 Campaign Contributions," accessed December 17, 2013
- Follow the Money, "New York Senate 2006 Campaign Contributions," accessed December 17, 2013
- Follow the Money, "New York Senate 2004 Campaign Contributions," accessed December 17, 2013
- Follow the Money, "New York Senate 2002 Campaign Contributions," accessed December 17, 2013
- Follow the Money, "New York Senate 2000 Campaign Contributions," accessed December 17, 2013
- New York State Legislature, "New York State Public Officers Law," accessed December 18, 2013(Referenced Statute § 42 (4))
- New York Legislature, "New York State Public Officers Law," accessed December 18, 2013(Referenced Statute § 38)
- New York Observer, "Backgrounder: How Redistricting Will Reshape New York's Battle Lines," December 27, 2010
- The Epoch Times, "New York Loses House Seats After 2010 Census," December 22, 2010
- Auburn Pub, "Koch expects legislators to deliver on pledge," January 2, 2011
- New York 1, "Advocates air concerns over NY's redistricting process," December 14, 2010
- New York Daily News, "State Senate Republicans mull adding extra seat to 62-member body," September 19, 2011
- New York Daily News, "Gov. Andrew Cuomo vows to veto Republicans' redistricting plan," January 26, 2012
- Syracuse.com, "New York releases its final redistricting maps for state Senate and Assembly districts," March 12, 2012
- Reuters, "New York lawmakers approve redistricting amendment," March 15, 2012
- Capital New York, "Cuomo says redistricting is fixed, and on transparency: 'You can't live your life in a goldfish bowl'," March 15, 2012
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- NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
- USA Today, "State lawmakers pump up pensions in ways you can't," September 23, 2011
- New York State Senate, "Senate Leadership List," accessed June 19, 2014
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