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Monday, September 1, 2014

Klein forms coalition with Republicans

By Adam Wisnieski
Posted
MARISOL DÍAZ/THE RIVERDALE PRESS
State Sen. Jeff Klein was tight-lipped about how he would divvy up his newfound power when he spoke to ‘The Riverdale Press’ at a job fair last month.

 

State Sen. Jeff Klein will be the fourth man in the room when the state legislative session begins in January.

Mr. Klein and Republican state Sen. Dean Skelos have announced the creation of a coalition between Mr. Klein’s Independent Democratic Conference and Senate Republicans. The agreement, made public on Tuesday, means the IDC will be formally recognized as a third, permanent Senate conference and Mr. Klein, who represents all of Riverdale, will have a major say in state policy.

Despite a possibility that candidates registered as Democrats will win a majority of seats once all the votes cast on Nov. 6 are counted, the GOP will continue to control the State Senate jointly with the IDC. Though a race in Senate District 46 has not yet been decided, even if Democrats are able to win it, they will not have enough seats without the IDC to gain a majority.

State Sen. Malcolm Smith, a Brooklyn Democrat, announced on Tuesday that he would become the fifth member of the IDC and state Sen.-elect Simcha Felder, who ran on the Democratic line in Brooklyn, has said he will also caucus with Republicans. 

In a joint release from the IDC and Senate Republicans on Tuesday, Mr. Klein and Mr. Skelos said the new “bipartisan coalition guarantees a fiscally responsible, fully functional Senate that will continue to produce positive results for all New Yorkers.” 

Mr. Klein and Mr. Skelos will functionally be co-majority leaders. They will have joint and equal authority over which bills get voted on in the Senate each day, and over the state budget, appointments to state and local boards and leadership and committee assignments for their respective conferences. 

The joint force will be dubbed in the Senate rules as the “Senate Majority Coalition.” But Democrats are already characterizing it as a coup. 

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