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Difference between revisions of "New York State Senate"

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|Website = [http://www.nysenate.gov/ Official Senate Page]
|Website = [http://www.nysenate.gov/ Official Senate Page]
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|Senate president = [[Dean Skelos]], (R)<br>[[Jeffrey Klein]], (D)
|Senate president = [[Robert Duffy]], (D)
|Majority leader = [[Dean Skelos]], (R)<br>[[Jeffrey Klein]], (D)
|Majority leader = [[Dean Skelos]], (R)<br>[[Jeffrey Klein]], (D)
|Minority leader = [[Andrea Stewart-Cousins]], (D)
|Minority leader = [[Andrea Stewart-Cousins]], (D)

Revision as of 10:04, 11 July 2013

New York State Senate

Seal of New York.png
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Term limits:   None
2015 session start:   January 9, 2013
Website:   Official Senate Page
Senate President:   Robert Duffy, (D)
Majority Leader:   Dean Skelos, (R)
Jeffrey Klein, (D)
Minority Leader:   Andrea Stewart-Cousins, (D)
Members:  63
   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 6, 2012 (63 seats)
Next election:  November 4, 2014 (63 seats)
Redistricting:  New York Legislature has control
The New York State Senate is the upper house of the New York State Legislature. The Senate meets at the State Capitol in Albany. 62 Members serve in the State Senate. Each member represents an average of 312,550 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[1] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 306,072 residents.[2] The Lieutenant Governor is the President of the Senate and its presiding officer and has one vote only to break a tie. The Legislature meets every year, typically for several days a week from January through mid-June and at the call of the Legislative leaders at other times during the year.

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[3].

As of April 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 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature will be in session from January 9 through December 31 (estimated).

Major issues

Gun control tops the list to be addressed by legislators in 2013. Other major issues include 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.[4]

Gun control:
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 includes 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.[5]

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 is due by December 1, 2013, with a final report expected by the end of 2014.[6]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Senate was in session from January 4 through June 22.

Major issues

Redistricting was a divisive issue in 2011 and had to be dealt with in 2012. Other issues included addressing a $3.5 billion budget gap and a proposal to ban hydrofracking.[7]


In 2011, the Senate was in session from January 5 through a date to be determined by the Legislature. [8]


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.[9]

Ethics and transparency

Open States Transparency

See also: Open States' Legislative Data Report Card

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 was 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.[10]



See also: New York State Senate elections, 2012

Elections for the office of New York State Senate were held in New York on November 6, 2012. A total of 63 seats were up for election.

The signature filing deadline was July 12, 2012.

The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.


See also: New York State Senate elections, 2010

Elections for the office of New York's State Senate were held in New York on November 2, 2010.

The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was July 22, 2010. The primary election day was September 14, 2010.

In 2010, the candidates for state senate raised a total of $48,466,031 in campaign contributions. The top 10 donors were: [11]


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.


See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures
How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures
NevadaMassachusettsColoradoNew MexicoWyomingArizonaMontanaCaliforniaOregonWashingtonIdahoTexasOklahomaKansasNebraskaSouth DakotaNorth DakotaMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaMississippiAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaSouth CarolinaIllinoisWisconsinTennesseeNorth CarolinaIndianaOhioKentuckyPennsylvaniaNew JerseyNew YorkVermontVermontNew HampshireMaineWest VirginiaVirginiaMarylandMarylandConnecticutConnecticutDelawareDelawareRhode IslandRhode IslandMassachusettsNew HampshireMichiganMichiganAlaskaVacancy fulfillment map.png

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[12]. The person elected to fill the vacant seat serves for the remainder of the unexpired term[13].


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.[14]

2010 census

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%.[15] 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.[16] Additionally, Governor Andrew Cuomo consistently reiterated his pledge to veto any new maps that were not drawn through a non-partisan process.[17] 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.[18]

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.[19] 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.[20] 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.[21] With that approved, Cuomo stated, "It’s over once and for all" [22] and signed the maps into law.[23]



See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2012, 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. [24]

The $79,500/year that New York legislators are paid as of 2011 is the same as they were paid during legislative sessions in 2007.[25][26]


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.[27]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

New York legislators assume office January 1st.


The Lieutenant Governor serves as President of the Senate, the presiding officer of the body, but can only vote in the event of a tie.[28]

Current leadership

Current Leadership, New York State Senate
Office Representative Party
President of the Senate Robert Duffy Electiondot.png Democratic
Senate Temporary Co-President Dean Skelos Ends.png Republican
Senate Temporary Co-President Jeffrey Klein Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Majority Republican Leader Dean Skelos Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Independent Democratic Leader Jeffrey Klein Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous Ends.png Republican
State Senate Vice President Pro Tempore George Maziarz Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Whip William Larkin Ends.png Republican
State Senate Deputy Majority Whip Charles Fuschillo Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Majority Whip Martin Golden Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Conference Chair Kenneth LaValle Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Deputy Minority Leader Michael Gianaris Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Minority Leader Martin Malave Dilan Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Whip Jose Peralta Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Minority Whip Velmanette Montgomery Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Conference Chair Ruth Hassell-Thompson Electiondot.png Democratic

Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state senates
Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 31
     Republican Party 32
Total 63

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the New York State Senate from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the New York State Senate.PNG

List of current members

Current members, New York State Senate
District Senator Party Assumed Office
1 Kenneth LaValle Ends.png Republican 1976
2 John J. Flanagan Ends.png Republican 2002
3 Lee Zeldin Ends.png Republican 2010
4 Philip Boyle Ends.png Republican 1972
5 Carl Marcellino Ends.png Republican 1995
6 Kemp Hannon Ends.png Republican 1990
7 Jack Martins Ends.png Republican 2010
8 Charles Fuschillo Ends.png Republican 1998
9 Dean Skelos Ends.png Republican 1984
10 James Sanders, Jr. Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
11 Tony Avella Electiondot.png Democratic 2010
12 Michael Gianaris Electiondot.png Democratic 2010
13 Jose Peralta Electiondot.png Democratic 2010
14 Malcolm Smith Electiondot.png Democratic 2000
15 Joseph Addabbo Electiondot.png Democratic 2008
16 Toby Ann Stavisky Electiondot.png Democratic 2000
17 Simcha Felder Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
18 Martin Malave Dilan Electiondot.png Democratic 2002
19 John L. Sampson Electiondot.png Democratic 1996
20 Eric Adams Electiondot.png Democratic 2006
21 Kevin Parker Electiondot.png Democratic 2002
22 Martin Golden Ends.png Republican 2010
23 Diane Savino Electiondot.png Democratic 2004
24 Andrew Lanza Ends.png Republican 2006
25 Velmanette Montgomery Electiondot.png Democratic 1984
26 Daniel Squadron Electiondot.png Democratic 2008
27 Brad M. Hoylman Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
28 Liz Krueger Electiondot.png Democratic 2002
29 Jose M. Serrano Electiondot.png Democratic 2004
30 Bill Perkins Electiondot.png Democratic 2006
31 Adriano Espaillat Electiondot.png Democratic 2010
32 Ruben Diaz Electiondot.png Democratic 2002
33 J. Gustavo Rivera Electiondot.png Democratic 2010
34 Jeffrey Klein Electiondot.png Democratic 2004
35 Andrea Stewart-Cousins Electiondot.png Democratic 2006
36 Ruth Hassell-Thompson Electiondot.png Democratic 2000
37 George Latimer Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
38 David Carlucci Electiondot.png Democratic 2010
39 William Larkin Ends.png Republican 1990
40 Greg Ball Ends.png Republican 2010
41 Terry W. Gipson Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
42 John Bonacic Ends.png Republican 1998
43 Kathleen A. Marchione Ends.png Republican 2012
44 Neil Breslin Electiondot.png Democratic 1976
45 Elizabeth O'C. Little Ends.png Republican 2002
46 Cecilia F. Tkaczyk Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
47 Joseph Griffo Ends.png Republican 2006
48 Patricia Ritchie Ends.png Republican 2010
49 Hugh Farley Ends.png Republican 1976
50 John DeFrancisco Ends.png Republican 1992
51 James L. Seward Ends.png Republican 1986
52 Thomas Libous Ends.png Republican 1988
53 David Valesky Electiondot.png Democratic 2004
54 Michael Nozzolio Ends.png Republican 1992
55 Ted O'Brien Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
56 Joseph Robach Ends.png Republican 2002
57 Catharine Young Ends.png Republican 2005
58 Thomas O'Mara Ends.png Republican 2010
59 Patrick Gallivan Ends.png Republican 1975
60 Mark Grisanti Ends.png Republican 2006
61 Michael Ranzenhofer Ends.png Republican 2008
62 George Maziarz Ends.png Republican 1995
63 Timothy M. Kennedy Electiondot.png Democratic 2010

Senate Standing Committees

The New York Senate has 34 standing committees:


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, New York’’
Partisan breakdown of the New York legislature from 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 have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of New York, the New York State Senate and the New York House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of New York state government(1992-2013).PNG

External links


  1. Population in 2010 of the American states
  2. Population in 2000 of the American states
  3. "New York State Senate" Frequently Asked Questions, March 3, 2009
  4. Spokesman Review, "NY legislative leaders buckle down on gun controls," January 9, 2013
  5. Seattle PI, "NY seals 1st state gun laws since Newtown massacre," January 15, 2013
  6. uticaod.com, "Cuomo creates panel to investigate Legislature", July 2, 2013
  7. Poughkeepsie Journal, "Divisive issues to test Cuomo's popularity in 2nd year," January 9, 2012
  8. 2011 Legislative Sessions Calendar, NCSL
  9. 2010 session dates for New York Legislature
  10. Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
  11. Follow the Money: "New York Senate 2010 Campaign Contributions"
  12. New York State Legislature "New York State Public Officers Law"(Referenced Statute § 42 (4))
  13. New York Legislature "New York State Public Officers Law"(Referenced Statute § 38)
  14. New York Observer, "Backgrounder: How Redistricting Will Reshape New York's Battle Lines," December 27, 2010
  15. The Epoch Times, "New York Loses House Seats After 2010 Census," December 22, 2010
  16. Auburn Pub, "Koch expects legislators to deliver on pledge," January 2, 2011
  17. New York 1 "Advocates air concerns over NY's redistricting process," December 14, 2010
  18. New York Daily News, "State Senate Republicans mull adding extra seat to 62-member body," September 19, 2011
  19. New York Daily News, "Gov. Andrew Cuomo vows to veto Republicans' redistricting plan," January 26, 2012
  20. Syracuse.com, "New York releases its final redistricting maps for state Senate and Assembly districts," March 12, 2012
  21. Reuters, "New York lawmakers approve redistricting amendment," March 15, 2012
  22. Capital New York, "Cuomo says redistricting is fixed, and on transparency: 'You can't live your life in a goldfish bowl'," March 15, 2012
  23. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named cong_approved
  24. National Conference of State Legislatures, "2011 Legislator Compensation Data"
  25. National Conference of State Legislatures, "2010 Legislator Compensation Data"
  26. Empire Center, "Legislative Salaries Per State as of 2007"
  27. USA Today, "State lawmakers pump up pensions in ways you can't," September 23, 2011
  28. New York State Senate Leadership