Sunday, December 2, 2012

Valesky: Coalition Is Still In Concept Phase

Sen. David Valesky, one of the four members of the Independent Democratic Conference, said the composition of a coalition or parliamentary style leadership in the Senate is still very much in the embryonic phase, with tricky details such as electing a temporary president still being worked out.

Valesky, D-Syracuse, sat down with YNN’s Bill Carey for what I believe is his first extended interview since Sen. Jeff Klein signaled he would propose a coalition government in the chamber.

For now, the coalition still needs to determine how to elect leaders and how much say each conference would be given under a power-sharing arrangement.
“You have to come up with a construct with at least two of three conferences form some sort of power sharing agreement where there is representation from both organizations to set the legislative agenda of the day and ultimately the session,” he said.
The IDC, formed in 2011, is composed of Sens. Jeff Klein of the Bronx, Dian Savino of Staten Island, David Carlucci of Rockland County and Valesky.

Valesky indicated, as have Republicans and Klein, the IDC’s leader, that no formal arrangement as been struck. Two Senate races — one in the 46th Senate District and another in the 41st — remain unresolved as absentee and paper ballots are being counted.

Since late this month, Klein has insisted that the IDC would remain a permanent third conference. The IDC now wants to ensrhine that into the Senate rules.
“The leaders at this point of those three conferences have had conversations. There’s no proposals yet. There’s no proposals as to what the leadership of a coalition government would look like as to who would lead. From the perspective of what we would vote for, I am anxious to see a proposal that involves a coalition government, which has to be the case if the independent conference remains independent.”
As for the power sharing itself, that issue remains similarly unclear. The temporary president post carries more power than the majority leader title (the president pro tem position is outline in the state Constitution, but the document is silent on the majority leader job).

One detail that remains unresolved is whether a numerical majority of 32 members can elect a temporary president of the Senate, or if that needs a simple plurality of the chamber. The detail is key should no clear majority emerge in the chamber.

“Good question and I wish I had an answer for you and maybe eventually I will,” Valesky said. ”It hasn’t progressed to that stage as to those details. It’s still very conceptual.”  POST

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