Tuesday, January 11, 2011

NYS Senate Chairs Crowned

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Rockville Centre, has announced the chairs for the standing committees in the Senate.
As reported earlier on 22 Miles From The Capitol, Sen. Farley has not taken over Senate Banks, but Senator Joe Griffo will be at the helm with Farley as his Vice-Chair. Farley, who will have some sort of central leadership position, is not the chair of any committee, including Aging, where he used to have some sway.
In local interest, the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee went to Sen. John Bonacic, even though Sen. Roy McDonald, R-Saratoga, requested it. He acknowledged last Wednesday that it would probably go to Bonacic, who has seniority in the conference. McDonald did not acknowledge that he might also be passed over because he has an independent streak that the leadership might not be keen on.McDonald did receive the chairmanship of the Mental Health committee, which is presumably where he will be able to shepherd through autism legislation.
Bonacic is also one of three Senators pulling down double duty, as he will also be Chair of the Judiciary committee.
The Republican staffing seems to have dealt a blow to the future of nonpartisan redistricting, as the makeup of the Senate Investigations and Government Operations committee is not too friendly to Valesky's bill (SB 660) on the issue.
Already in a past session, two of the current GOP members voted without recommendation on the proposal. This isn't a full out rebuke of the measure, but its not exactly a warm welcome. In the bill's favor, though, is the fact that Big Cheese Tom Libous has supported the bill in the past.
Full list of committee chairs and Republican members:

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