Co Leadership Could Be Resolution To Senate Gridlock

07.07.09 | FL News Team

A new concept in government has been suggested to end the stalemate in the state Senate. A co-majority was proposed by Senate Republicans and renegade Democratic Senator Pedro Espada Jr. and would remain in effect through 2010. The Democratic conference has so far rejected the notion. Both conferences, represented by Democrat Malcolm Smith and Republican Dean Skelos, who have worked out a system in which Smith opens the session and recognizes Skelos. Skelos then reads a statement contesting the Democrats' hold on the chamber and recommends that the session be adjourned, which Smith then seconds. The biggest barrier to continuing co-leadership would require Senate rules to be rewritten, which could become a long, drawn-out affair. Also, co-leaders could have trouble making personnel decisions regarding staff and other resources, since many positions are divided into "partisan" jobs and "operational" positions. The gridlock began after a June 8th coup led by Espada and another Democrat, Hiram Monserrate, who has since returned to the party.