New York State Legislature

The New York State Legislature consists of the two houses that act as the state legislature of the U.S. state of New York: the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly. The Constitution of New York does not designate an official term for the two houses together; it says only that the state's legislative power "shall be vested in the senate and assembly".[1] Session laws passed by the Legislature are published in the official Laws of New York.[2][3] Permanent New York laws of a general nature are codified in the Consolidated Laws of New York.[2][4] As of January 2021, the Democratic Party holds supermajorities in both houses of the New York State Legislature, which is the highest paid state legislature in the country.

New York State Legislature
Coat of arms or logo
Preceded byGeneral Assembly of New York
Antonio Delgado (D)
since May 25, 2022
Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D)
since January 2, 2019
Carl Heastie (D)
since February 3, 2015
Political groups
Majority caucus
  •   Democratic (42)

Minority caucus

Political groups
Majority caucus

Minority caucus

Salary$142,000/year + per diem
Last election
November 8, 2022
Next election
Meeting place
New York State Capitol

Legislative elections are held in November of every even-numbered year.[5] Both Assembly members and Senators serve two-year terms.[6]

In order to be a member of either house, one must be a citizen of the United States, a resident of the state of New York for at least five years, and a resident of the district for at least one year prior to election.[7]

The Assembly consists of 150 members; they are each chosen from a single-member district. The New York Constitution allows the number of Senate seats to vary; as of 2014, the Senate had 63 seats.[8]

Leaders edit

The Assembly is headed by the speaker, while the Senate is headed by the president, a post held ex officio by the State lieutenant governor. the lieutenant governor, as president of the Senate, has only a tie-breaking "casting vote". More often, the Senate is presided over by the temporary president,[9] or by a senator of the majority leader's choosing.[citation needed]

The assembly speaker and Senate majority leader control the assignment of committees and leadership positions, along with control of the agenda in their chambers. The two are considered powerful statewide leaders and along with the governor of New York control most of the agenda of state business in New York.[citation needed]

Drafting and research edit

The Legislative Bill Drafting Commission (LBDC) aids in drafting legislation; advises as to the constitutionality, consistency or effect of proposed legislation; conducts research; and publishes and maintains the documents of the Legislature, such as the Laws of New York.[10][11] The LBDC consists of two commissioners, the commissioner for administration and the commissioner for operations, each appointed jointly by the temporary president of the Senate and the speaker of the Assembly.[12]

Party control edit

In the 2018 elections, Democrats won control of the State Senate and increased their majority in the State Assembly. At the beginning of the 2019–2020 legislative session, the Senate Democratic Conference held 39 of the chamber's 63 seats[13] and the Assembly Democratic Conference held 106 of the 150 seats in that chamber.[14] The Senate Democratic Conference increased to 40 seats after Democratic senator Simcha Felder was re-accepted into the Conference.[15]

Title page of volume 1 of the Consolidated Laws of New York

Constitutional powers edit

The Legislature is empowered to make law, subject to the governor's power to veto a bill. However, the veto may be overridden by the Legislature if there is a two-thirds vote in favor of overriding in each House. Furthermore, it has the power to propose New York Constitution amendments by a majority vote, and then another majority vote following an election. If so proposed, the amendment becomes valid if agreed to by the voters at a referendum.[citation needed]

History edit

The legislature originated in the revolutionary New York Provincial Congress, assembled by rebels when the New York General Assembly would not send delegates to the Continental Congress.[citation needed]

The New York State Legislature has had several corruption scandals during its existence. These include the Black Horse Cavalry and Canal Ring.[16][17]

In the 1840s, New York launched the first great wave of civil procedure reform in the United States by enacting the Field Code. The Code inspired the enactment of similar codes in 26 other states, and gave birth to the term "code pleading" for the system of civil procedure it created.[18]

The first African-American elected to the legislature was Edward A. Johnson, a Republican, in 1917.[19] The first women elected to the legislature were Republican Ida Sammis and Democrat Mary Lilly, both in 1919.[20] The first African-American woman elected to the legislature was Bessie A. Buchanan in 1955.[21]

Five assemblymen were expelled in 1920 for belonging to the Socialist Party.[22]

In 2008, when the U.S. Supreme Court reluctantly affirmed the constitutionality of a statute enacted by the New York legislature, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in a concurring opinion: "[A]s I recall my esteemed former colleague, Thurgood Marshall, remarking on numerous occasions: 'The Constitution does not prohibit legislatures from enacting stupid laws.'"[23]

There is said to be a compact to which members of the New York Legislature unofficially adhere a code of silence regarding behavior such as illicit extramarital affairs or other embarrassing behavior.[24]

Legislative leadership edit

New York State Senate edit

New York State Assembly edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "New York State Constitution". New York State Department of State. Archived from the original on February 7, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Gibson, Ellen M.; Manz, William H. (2004). Gibson's New York Legal Research Guide (PDF) (3rd ed.). Wm. S. Hein Publishing. p. 30. ISBN 1-57588-728-2. LCCN 2004042477. OCLC 54455036.
  3. ^ Gibson & Manz 2004, pp. 47–48.
  4. ^ Gibson & Manz 2004, pp. 56–57.
  5. ^ Warren, Olivia A. (June 23, 2008). "A House Divided in Washington Heights". Gotham Gazette.
  6. ^ "Everything You Need to Know About New York's Primary Election on Thursday". Vogue. September 10, 2018.
  7. ^ "New York State Constitution". New York State Department of State. Archived from the original on February 7, 2016. Article III, Section VII.
  8. ^ McKinley, Jesse (February 24, 2014). "What Is a Majority Vote in the State Senate? The Answer Goes Beyond Simple Math". The New York Times.
  9. ^ "Branches of Government in New York State". NY State Senate. March 25, 2009. Retrieved February 29, 2020.
  10. ^ Legislative Law § 25
  11. ^ Kallos, Ben (June 9, 2014). "Set the Law Free, Say Council Members Lander, Vacca, Kallos: Legislation to Put Law Online for Free Instead of Behind Paid Subscriptions" (Press release). Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  12. ^ Legislative Law § 24
  13. ^ Campbell, Jon (January 9, 2019). "History made: Andrea Stewart-Cousins sworn in as NY Senate leader".
  14. ^ Klepper, David; Carola, Chris (January 9, 2019). "Democrat-controlled NY state Legislature starts 2019 session". AP News.
  15. ^ Reisman, Nick (July 1, 2019). "Felder Joins Senate Dem Fold". NY State of Politics. Archived from the original on July 1, 2019. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  16. ^ Archdeacon, Thomas J. (1978). "The Erie Canal Ring, Samuel J. Tilden, and the Democratic Party". New York History. 59 (4): 408–429. ISSN 0146-437X. JSTOR 23170015.
  17. ^ Giroux, Gary (July 12, 2013). Business Scandals, Corruption, and Reform: An Encyclopedia [2 volumes]: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 255. ISBN 978-1-4408-0068-9.
  18. ^ Hepburn, Charles McGuffey (1897). The Historical Development of Code Pleading in America and England. Cincinnati: W.H. Anderson & Co. p. 15. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  19. ^ "Edward A. Johnson (Edward Austin), 1860-1944". Documenting the American South.
  20. ^ "Early Women Elected to the NYS Legislature". St. Lawrence County Branch. Archived from the original on January 28, 2010.
  21. ^ Jessie Carney Smith, ed. (1996). Notable Black American Women. Vol. 2. Detroit Michigan: Gale Research Inc. pp. 73–75. ISBN 0-8103-9177-5. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
  22. ^ Confessore, Nicholas (October 21, 2009). "When the Assembly Expelled Socialists for Disloyalty". New York Times (blog).
  23. ^ New York State Bd. of Elections v. Lopez Torres, 552 U.S. 196, 209 (2008) (Stevens, J., concurring).
  24. ^ Baker, Al (May 16, 2004). "Albany Faces Its Sex Problem, and Nobody's Snickering". The New York Times.

Further reading edit

External links edit