Schneiderman Keeping A Close Eye On Senate Struggle
ICYMI: AG Eric Schneiderman, a former member of the Senate Democratic conference, told me during a CapTon interview last night that he thinks it’s “possible” the power sharing agreement between the IDC and GOP could work in the chamber, but he’s monitoring the situation closely for fear of the new coalition running into legal snafus.
Schneiderman said he’s particularly interested in the temporary Senate president position (AKA president pro tem), which, under the deal hammered out between Senate Majority Leader and IDC leader Jeff Klein, the two will share in a two weeks on, two weeks off rotation.
“I think that we’re waiting to see how they resolve the many issues that have to be resolved,” Schneiderman said. “As attorney general I defend the state and I defend the state laws. I’ve worked well with my Democratic colleagues in the Senate, worked well with my Republican colleagues over the past two years, passing I-STOP and other important legislation.”
“We do have an interest as the attorney general’s office in making sure that everything is set up to comply with all the laws, because if there are challenges to statutes I have to defend them. But we’re waiting to see what the outcome is. I don’t even know that they’ve determined the outcome of that final Senate race that’s still being recounted.”
“I think there’s a lot of turbulence, there has been turbulence in the state Senate. I look forward to it settling down, because New Yorkers deserve a functional government. And I think there are a lot of – most of – the members of the New York State Senate want a stable situation so that they can go about their business.”
“I think the voters choices have to be respected. And we’ll see how this settles out. I’m watching as you are, Liz, observing it with the extra interest of wanting to make sure whatever is done is done lawful. As soon as they determine who the president pro tem is who the leader of the Senate is, we’ll probably be talking about exactly how they’re operating. Because otherwise, I may end up defending statues that are being challenged because the proedures were improper.”
Schneiderman, who was an outspoken senator and often served as a thorn in the GOP’s side, expressed “sympathy for some of my colleagues who are caught up in this confusion.”
He also took issue, albeit gently, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s claim that the Senate Democrats “squandered” their brief time in the majority and failed to pass any significant reform legislation.
Schneiderman said he had several very “successful” years in the Senate, noting he led the effort to repeal the Rockefeller Drug Laws – “which we did by only one vote” – championed a change in the way prisoners are counted for redistricting purposes (this was done in a budget extender by former Gov. David Paterson, I believe) and also helped pas “the strongest false claims act in the country.”
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