Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Rockville Centre, Nassau County, responded to his Democratic counterpart’s letter on the controversial rules changes assuring him the changes will pass next week.
“The rules changes we have proposed will help assure the orderly operation of the Senate and its standing committees,” Skelos wrote in the letter, sent Thursday.
Senate Minority Leader John Sampson, D-Brooklyn, and his conference protested the rules changes as a “power grab” — namely that Republicans wanted to diminish the power of the lieutenant governor when it comes to elected the temporary president of the Senate in the event of a 31-31 tie.
The Senate is currently split 32-30.
The rules changes did not pass out of a Senate committee on Tuesday after Sen. Ken LaValle was missing in action.
Democrats are also upset that the changes will reconstitute the Senate Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Committee, with Sen. Jeff Klein, D-Bronx, set to be chairman — and given a $12,500 stipend.
Klein is the leader of the breakaway faction of independent Democrats who, on budget issues, appear to align with Senate Republicans. The other Democrats — David Carlucci, Diane Savino and David Valesky — also received committee chairmanships of existing Senate panels and stipends all.
In the Skelos letter, the majority leader included a dig at Sampson, noting that he gave committee chairmanships to three Democrats. “… more members of the minority party than the Majority Leader has ever chosen” to lead committees.