Senate Dems resort to hostile tactics
Senate Democrats have resorted to combative tactics to try and get their bills voted in recent weeks, in an attempt force Republicans to weigh in on controversial issues.
Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman has the story.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
STATEWIDE -- It's only March, but in Albany it's starting to feel a lot like November. Over the last several weeks, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have entered a new phase of squabbling over legislation, arcane rules of procedure and most notably over redistricting.
"Again and again there's an attempt stifle debate, turn democracy into a game. It's a real shame," said Manhattan Democrat Daniel Squadron
Democratic lawmakers have tried to mount hostile amendments on the floor of the chamber for tighter gun-control measures and access to education for illegal immigrants. They've also tried to get Republicans to vote on non-binding, but politically unsavory resolutions that recognize abortion rights. Then there was the staged walk off the Senate floor by Democrats over the redistricting compromise.
"On the advice of my colleagues at this point in time, we need to walkoff. We can conduct this vote, this session," Senate Minority Leader John Sampson said last week during a floor debate.
And the walkout was proceeded by some harsh words from Democrats during the debate.
"As far as I'm concerned, you can put the second plan together with the first plan and shove it. Both of them. Thank you, Mr. President," Queens Democrat Mike Gianaris said during the floor debate.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos sees it a different way.
"It was childish. It shows they don't know how to govern. They don't know to be a part of government. That was not a serious debate," Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said.
But the battle for control of the 62-member chamber has put Democrats at odds with Governor Andrew Cuomo over not just letting Republicans redraw their own legislative boundaries, but also over the pension overhaul. Republicans meanwhile are celebrating the still-too-close-to-call special election in Brooklyn. Republican David Storobrin holds a slight lead over Democratic City Councilman Lew Fidler. It's an area that the GOP rarely has success in, making the Democrats' possible failure sting all the more
"I think there message is somewhat weak here and I don't think it resonates with the people of this state and even in Brooklyn at this point," Senate Deputy Majority Leader Dean Skelos said.
Democrats continue to hold out hope that party faithful will come out strong in an election year to help their down-ballot Senate candidates. The party controlled the chamber for two years after winning a majority in 2008, but quickly lost power following a tumultus term.