GOP Gives IDC Committee Chairs, Changes Chamber Rules
The Senate Republicans have elevated their power struggle with the minority over the breakway Independence Democratic Conference by awarding three of the four renegade members committee chairmanships.
In addition, after pledging to change the chamber rules to make them more equitable to the minority and then putting off a decision for two weeks, the GOP has come up with alterations that have the Democrats crying foul.
One of those changes re-establishes a committee that had been dormant – Alcoholism and Substance Abuse – that has been awarded to IDC ringleader Jeff Klein.
The GOP also made Sen. Diane Savino chair of the Children and Family Services Committee and Sen. David Valesky chair of the Aging Committee. All three of these posts carry a $12,500 lulu. The youngest member of the group, Sen. David Carlucci, did not receive a committee.
UPDATE: As it turns out, Carlucci DID receive a title: Co-chair of the Administrative Regulations Review Commission, which is responsible for reviewing rules and regulations passed by state entities. I’m told this may also have a $12,500 lulu, but I’m not certain about that.
(Previously, Aging had been held by Sen. Marty Golden and Children and Family Services belonged to freshman Sen. Patrick Gallivan, who also chairs the Social Services Committee).
Just yesterday, Klein announced that he and his fellow IDCers would accept Senate Minority Leader John Sampson’s offer of committee assignments that included only four committees per member and no ranking positions (hence, no lulu).
Klein called Sampson out for waiting so long to dole out committees to the IDC members, who have insisted they’re still Democrats, although they’re no longer conferencing with their former colleagues.
The IDC members have insisted their decision to leave the minority conference was not motivated by a desire for either power or perks, but rather a loss of confidence in Sampson’s leadership.
Sampson and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos exchanged letters in recent weeks that Sampson determined indicated a recognition on Skelos’ part that the Democratic leader retained control over his former conference members.
The issue of who has jurisdiction over the IDC members sparked a war of words on the Senate floor yesterday after Skelos granted Klein’s request to let the foursome sit together in the chamber, wrecking havoc with Sampson’s pre-arranged seating chart.
The Democrats were furious they had not received a heads-up from the GOP and could not find their seats once they arrived in the chamber for the afternoon session yesterday.
Brooklyn Democratic Sen. Eric Adams accused the Republicans of racial discrimination, which caused Deputy Senate Majority Leader Tom Libous to get his dander up.
LG Bob Duffy sided with the Republicans, who apparently have repaid him by changing the chamber rule that allows the LG to cast a tie-breaking vote in the chamber when he’s presiding over the Senate.
More on the rules changes as it’s available.
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