NY Senate Dems Drop Latest Court Challenge; Impasse Continues

Friday, June 19, 2009

In the ongoing dispute over who's in charge of the New York State Senate, Democrats have backed down from seeking a second restraining order from a judge. It would've prevented dissident Democratic Senator Pedro Espada from exercising his duties as the senate's president pro tem. WNYC's Elaine Rivera reports.

REPORTER: State Democrats decided not to follow through on the order after an appellate judge ruled that such an action would also apply to their own majority leader, Malcolm Smith. After closed door meetings, both sides - Republicans and Democrats - refused to concede anything with each party still saying they're in charge.

The legislators were expected to head home for the weekend. Another session is scheduled for Monday but it's unclear whether Democrats will attend. They've refused to do so since the June 8th coup when two dissident Democrats - Espada and Hiram Monserrate - broke ranks and voted to give Republicans control of the Senate.

Monserrate has since returned to the Democratic party, creating a 31-31 split. Meanwhile, hopes diminished that the GOP would lure over Democratic Senator Darrel Aubertine, who represents a conservative district in Northern New York. Aubertine says he considered it but backed down because of what he described as a "misunderstanding". For WNYC, I'm Elaine Rivera.


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