Senator Dean G. Skelos, leader of the Senate Republican Conference, and Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, leader of the Independent Democratic Conference, today joined together to announce an historic bipartisan partnership to continue the tremendous progress that has been achieved over the past two years in New York State.  Joe Robach believes that this new bipartisan governing coalition would guarantee a fiscally responsible, fully functional Senate that will continue to produce positive results for all New Yorkers.   
Two years ago, Independent Democrats and Senate Republicans put partisan differences aside to end the dysfunction, gridlock and reckless fiscal policies of the previous Senate leadership.  This partnership returned function and order to the Senate Chamber, restored fiscal integrity, and produced remarkable accomplishments that have benefited all New Yorkers.  Today’s agreement marks a bold new chapter in this partnership, that will allow the Senate to continue pushing New York State forward, while ensuring that there will be no returning to the failed leadership of the past.   
Of tremendous importance is the bipartisan coalition government’s commitment to working with Governor Cuomo on progressive policy issues that benefit all New Yorkers in the next legislative session.
Under the unprecedented agreement, the Independent Democratic Conference will be formally recognized as a third, permanent Senate conference. Senator Klein and Senator Skelos will assume the roles of Conference Leader for their respective conferences and will administer joint and equal authority over (1) the daily senate agenda (a/k/a the “Active List,” which lays out which bills will be voted on each day), (2) the state budget, (3) appointments to state and local boards, and (4) leadership and committee assignments for their respective conferences.  Under the agreement, coalition leaders will need to work together to lead the Senate forward. The new agreement will also provide for a process by which the title of Temporary President will alternate between the two conference leaders every two weeks. Therefore, the role of the temporary president will be constitutionally fulfilled at all times.
 This partnership will be memorialized in the Senate’s rules for the upcoming legislative session. The two conferences, which will form the governing coalition, will be recognized in the 2013-2014 Senate Rules as the Senate Majority Coalition.
For more information on this new Senate initiative, contact the office of Joe Robach.