Republicans Make an Offer That Leaves Skelos and Espada in Charge

ALBANY—Republicans just made a counter-proposal for bipartisan operating of the State Senate, as the deadlocked chamber moves to resolve an ongoing leadership struggle.

The Republican proposal would last until 2011. It would leave Republican leader Dean Skelos in the majority leader post and State Senator Pedro Espada Jr., a Democrat, as president pro tempore.

The two would jointly publish an active list of bills, but any member could move to have a bill they sponsored put on the next active list if "a majority of members present and voting agree."

Further, "any bill on the calendar may be considered on the net active list upon the presentation of a petition signed by the majority of the members elected to the Senate."

Committee chairmanships would be designated on a bipartisan basis, and committee representation would be proportional. Staffing allocations would be proportional.

There is still no provision in writing pertaining to member-item allocations, though Espada promised they would equally apportioned.

The proposal was made at a meeting of Republican and Democratic leadership. Leaving the closed-door confab, Democratic leader John Sampson said that the proposal would be considered by members of his conference. He declined to elaborate further. Last night, Democrats proposed an operating agreement with rotating presidents pro tempore and a bipartisan panel to set the active list.

State Senator Tom Libous, a Binghamton Republican, said it was a "good meeting."

Republicans Make an Offer That Leaves Skelos and Espada in Charge