The new Republican-led coalition may have been able to finally enter State Senate chambers, but it couldn't hold a session, because one of the two dissident Democrats who helped them take over control of the Senate walked out! Hilarious! It was Hiram Monserrate (D-Queens) who put things back into limbo: He remarked that he was a Democrat and wanted more Democrats aboard, then said, "This chamber must not remain divided, so I'm going to excuse myself from this chamber."
Monserrate has refused to vote on any legislation, which means that with only 31 votes, the Republicans-plus-Pedro Espada Jr. don't have a quorum to pass anything. The NY Times witnessed, "As [Monserrate] was walking out of the chamber, a Republican staff member followed him out and pleaded with him, saying, 'Senator, we need you back in there.'" And PolitickerNY reports, "Monserrate has been under considerable pressure from Democrats to drop out of the Republican coalition. According to a Democratic source familiar with the negotiations, he met with officials from the Working Families Party yesterday and several of the Democrats today. 'All the talks were encouraging. I assume that's why there was no session today, and something must have turned him back,' the Democratic source said."
In the meantime, Senate Democrats were in Troy, NY, trying to get a judge to order an injunction against the Republicans' coup moves, claiming that former Senate majority leader Malcolm Smith (D-Queens) could not be forced out, because he was elected to a two-year term as Senate president and majority leader. The State Supreme Court justice George B. Ceresia said he didn't have the authority and scheduled a hearing with another judge, and adding, "Let me put it this way: I think the people of the state of New York are the ones suffering from this. It's not indicative of good government -- it's indicative of anything but good government." The Democrats are reportedly headed to the Appellate Division this afternoon.
Waiting in the wings is Senator John Sampson (D-Brooklyn), whom the Times may be the new head of the Democrats: "Senators were privately agreeing on Thursday morning that Malcolm A. Smith could no longer be their leader, Democrats said, speaking anonymously because the action was not yet official."