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New York State Senate

WNYC News

NY Senate Republicans Stand by Embattled Leader

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

GOP members are expressing support for Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos as he faces a federal corruption probe.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Three Men (and a Woman?) In a Room

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Andrea Stewart-Cousins, New York State Senate Minority Leader (D-35), says she deserves a spot at the table with the proverbial "three men in a room" during Albany's budget negotiations.

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WNYC News

Sen. Libous and the Balance of Power in Albany

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Ken Lovett, Albany bureau chief for the New York Daily News, explains how Libous' case could affect the balance of power in the Senate.

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WNYC News

A Reunion for Senate Democrats in Albany?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

In a move that could shift the balance of power in Albany, two Democratic factions in the State Senate say they are joining to form what could be a strong Democratic Majority in the Senate. That could leave Republicans, who up until now have ruled the chamber in a coalition government, out of power

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WNYC News

Dream Act Dies in Albany

Monday, March 17, 2014

The state senate rejected a bill that would have given college tuition assistance to thousands of children of immigrants in the country illegally.

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Schoolbook

Senate Leaders Propose Full Pre-K Funding for New York City, Minus the Tax Increase

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Legislative leaders in Albany appear to agree that Mayor Bill de Blasio won't get his tax plan to fund pre-kindergarten and after-school programs, but that he should get all of the money he was asking for.

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WNYC News

NYS Budget Talks Get Real as Deadline Nears

Monday, March 10, 2014

Budget negotiations are expected to get serious at the New York State Capitol this week, with the spending plan due at the end of the month.

The state Senate and Assembly are due to put out separate budget resolutions Wednesday, the first step toward reaching a final deal with Gov. ...

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Legislative Session Wrap-Up

Thursday, June 13, 2013

With the legislative session scheduled to end next week, New York State Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) talks about pending legislation and her call for gridlock if the Women's Equality Act doesn't get a vote in the Senate.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Albany Corruption Continues

Monday, May 06, 2013

Brooklyn Senator John Sampson (D) was taken into custody by the FBI early today, and is expected to appear in court this afternoon. Ken Lovett, Albany bureau chief for The Daily News, discusses the widening corruption scandal rocking New York, and reviews Gov. Cuomo's proposals to combat corruption on the state level.

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WNYC News

Senate GOP Leader Dampens Expectations on Progressive Bills

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Senate Republicans dampened expectations Tuesday that the new governing coalition in the chamber would move quickly on progressive issues championed by Democrats, including a minimum wage increase and public financing of campaigns.

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WNYC News

Cuomo Claims He'll Avoid Senate Control Fight

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’s staying out of the ongoing fight for control of the State Senate, maintaining that he’ll work with whoever ultimately wins the struggle.

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WNYC News

Control of NY State Senate Could Come Down to the Wire

Thursday, October 25, 2012

This election will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the State Senate in the next term, and it could come down to just a few hundred votes in a small number of key Senate contests. Both sides are hopeful that they will be victorious.

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It's A Free Country ®

Explainer: What Good Is It to be the Toughest State on Gun Control?

Monday, August 06, 2012

A New York State Senator plans to introduce six new pieces of gun control legislation this week, which if passed would make New York the state with the toughest gun laws in the nation. But gun control advocates caution that lax laws in other states would still pose a threat.

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The Empire

State Judge OK's 63rd Senate Seat

Friday, April 13, 2012

In a major blow to Senate Democrats' efforts to halt the implementation of new Republican-drawn districts, a state supreme court judge ruled the Senate majority's decision to up the seat total to 63 was constitutionally acceptable.

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The Empire

New York State Senate and Assembly special election returns

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

SPECIAL ELECTION RESULTS FOR THE STATE SENATE

SPECIAL ELECTION RESULTS FOR THE ASSEMBLY

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It's A Free Country ®

Krueger: Women's Health Battle Gets 'Silly and Weird' in Albany

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Sen. Krueger argues that this move by the Republican Majority is indicative of bigger problems. “If you can't even get a simple noncontroversial resolution through, how do imagine they're going to handle complex, important legislative changes for the state of New York."

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The Empire

Councilman Greenfield: We don't want a 'Super Ghetto' senate district

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Colby Hamilton / WNYC

Speaking with a few dozen members of the southern Brooklyn Jewish community behind him, Councilman David Greenfield denounced the creation of a so-called "super Jewish" state senate district during this year's redistricting process, calling it instead a "super ghetto."

"We're not going to allow for a backroom, smoke-filled deal to dilute the strength of our community," Greenfield said during a press conference in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.

A number of speakers from various community groups and religious organizations spoke, including Chaim Deutch of Flatbush Shomrim, Rabbi Chaim Goldberger of Satmar, Mendel Zilberberg of Community Board 12, and Rabbi Yechezkel Pikus of the Council of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush.

"We are opposed to this so-called 'super-jewish' district. This district may be super for other people, but it's not super for the Jews," Greenfield said.

The proposed district in question is part of the first draft of state senate lines drawn up by LATFOR, the task force made up of state legislatures who are responsible for drawing the new lines. If created, the 17th district would stretch from Borough Park down through the Midwood section of Brooklyn (see below).

Greenfield compared the creation of a senate district carved out for the predominately Orthodox Jewish community in the area to the creation of the Venetian ghetto 500 years ago.

"They told the Jews, 'It'll be good for you; why do you want to live with everybody? We're going to separate you. We're going to put you in a neighborhood.' And they came up with a brand new name for this neighborhood. They called it a 'ghetto'," Greenfield said. "This, folks, is nothing more and nothing less than a ghetto district."

The Councilman refused to say who, specifically, it was that wanted to create this "ghetto district" but the push for the high-density district has come from the Senate Republicans, who both drew the maps and see it as a potentially winnable seat this year. Greenfield said he testified before LATFOR, calling for more concentrated districts in the area that is now divided among as many as six senate districts.

"They gave us one--one senator. A senator that can be easily marganilized. A senator who can be dismissed. A senator people don't have to pay attention to," the Councilman said.

The battle over the future district lines has been playing out behind a special election for the nearby senate district recently vacated by disgraced former senator Carl Kruger. Another local council member, Lewis Fidler, is running against Brooklyn Republican Party vice-chairman David Storobin.

The candidate was unable to attend at least two recent debate appearances due to illness. But the illness was announced ten days ago and Fidler has been scarcely seen publicly, with just two weeks left to go in the campaign.

Requests were put in to Councilman Fidler's campaign for an update on his status. They have yet to be returned.

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The Empire

The Orthodox Jewish senate district in Brooklyn: a rebuttal

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Orthodox Pundit blog has a great rebuttal to my posts on the new Orthodox Jewish majority district that's included in the proposed redistrictingmaps. My argument, made over a couple of posts, is that voting trends and registration suggest the new district isn't a sure thing for Senate Republicans and, more importantly, the dividing up of conservative voters into two senate districts in Brooklyn may end up backfiring.

In the response, the OP blogger points out the string of Republican-over-Democrat results--from McCain to Paladino--in Assemblyman Dov Hikind's district. Hikind, while a Democrat, has often sided with Republicans over social issues, and his district would be the heart of the proposed 17th Senate seat.

"They clearly lean republican," the OP blogger says. "Their registration as democrats and electing democrats is solely for political expediency. Democratic primaries are where most local races are decided, and they want to be a part of the process, and a republican city member is virtually worthless, so they will elect democrats.

"In national and statewide elections, they vote their conscience, and republicans generally do well. In local elections, where the candidates and their positions are less known, they will elect officials based on community leaders’ wishes, the candidates’ chances, and their support for the community, without any regards to party lines. This calculus until now favored democrats, because Orthodox haven’t had a chance to sway elections in places where republicans matter."

These points are well taken. OP's arguments are certainly the ones Senate Republicans had in mind when they went and drew the seat they did. The district's political leanings have far more to do with individual candidates and the issues inside the community than party registration.

The problem, though, is that senate districts are significantly bigger than assembly districts. The larger the seat, the more diverse the voting pool. In a place like Brooklyn, that means bringing in people that are actually Democratic voters.

That doesn't make anything OP is saying wrong. But the lens here is wider than just the Orthodox community, even as they will surely be the anchor to whatever district gets drawn. In trying to carve out two seats for Republicans in southern Brooklyn, Senate Republicans may be stretching themselves precariously thin.

But a lot of what happens at the end of this year will be determined by what happens in the election next month, as OP points out:

As of the current round, Lew Fidler is the clear front runner for Kruger’s seat. He’s a known in the community, and Storobin have yet to get a single community leader in the non-Russian Orthodox community behind him.

But Fidler haven’t nailed it down yet. The establishment is not firmly behind him. The two Borough Park Orthodox elected officials – even the councilman strongly behind his candidacy - have yet to endorse, and the leading Askunim are still wavering between the clear front runner and majority leader Skelos’ pick.

In essence, it’s clear that the seat is Lew Fidler’s to lose, but it is still a possibility. Should Storobin get the community leadership behind him.

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The Empire

32BJ endorses Councilman Lew Fidler for state senate

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The largest private-sector union in New York is throwing its support behind New York City Councilman Lew Fidler in his race to replace disgraced former Brooklyn state senator Carl Kruger in the 27th Senate District in southern Brooklyn.

“Councilman Fidler has a record of championing the rights of working people throughout the city,” said 32BJ's president Mike Fishman in a statement. “We are committed to supporting candidates who will make New York a state that works for working people.”

The union says it will work to mobilize the more than 1,500 members it has in 27th Senate District in southern Brooklyn.

"I am proud to have the support of the hardworking men and women of 32BJ,” Fidler in a statement. "I’ve spent my time as a public servant dedicated to advocating for working and middle class families. This endorsement is a true indicator that I’ve succeeded for these communities. But our work here is not done and I look forward to continuing this work in Albany and delivering for Working and Middle-Class families in this district and throughout the state."

While Fidler is accepting the backing of labor, he's not appearing on the labor-backed Working Families Party line. He didn't appear on the line for his 2009 council run either.

Calls to the campaign of Fidler's opponent, David Storobin, for a comment were not immediately returned.

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The Empire

Senate R’s pining for an Orthodox Jewish district, but at what cost?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

[Note: There were a number of errors in an earlier version of this article, including the misspelling of Congressman Bob Turner's name. They've been corrected and I apologize.]

In a month, voters in the 27th State Senate District in southern Brooklyn will go to the polls for a special election to replace former senator Carl Kruger.

This race has generated a considerable amount of interest in what would normally be a sleepy off-season political event. But Senate Republicans are making a strong run for the seat, buoyed by the strong showing in the Brooklyn side of Congressman Bob Turner’s district, which he won in a special election last fall. That Brooklyn slice just happens to represent about half of Senate District 27.

They’ve settled on David Storobin, a trial attorney and vice-president of the Republican Party in Brooklyn, emigrated from Russia two decades ago. He’s reflective in many ways of the young, Russian Jewish population Republicans are hoping to mobilize on Election Day.

On the Democratic side, the man who had long been seen as Kruger’s likely successor, City Councilman Lew Fidler, was chosen to keep the seat in the “D” column. Early on the Fidler campaign stirred up controversy by suggesting Storobin had ties to neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups. He later backed off that line of attack,saying he never called his opponent a neo-Nazi, while Storobin’s campaign has used it as a rallying cry. At least some in the Orthodox Jewish community appear to be listening.

Behind the rushed campaigning of this special election has been the impending redistricting process. No matter who wins the special election next month, they’ll be running again later this year in a district that will likely look very different than the one they win in.

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