ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — New York is one of the bluest of blue states. Since 2020 the state Senate has held the supermajority with Democrats making up 43 of the 63-member chamber, but post midterm elections have flipped some districts from Democrat to Republican. Our Capitol Correspondent Amal Tlaige took a closer look at the supermajority the Democrats could possibly lose.
“The supermajority in both houses is not anything really super, it’s that they meet the standard in the state constitution for having a big enough majority that if the houses wanted to override gubernatorial vetoes the one party would have the power to do it,” said Blair Horner, Executive Director at NYPIRG, a watchdog group. You could say this evens out the playing field for Republicans. The Senate now faces the possibility that both parties would have to work together if they want to override the Governor’s veto of a bill.
It’s been a long time since a significant veto happened in the Senate. “One of the budgets that former Governor Pataki had vetoed about a hundred additions to the budget that he had advanced and both houses of the legislature overrode those vetoes and then it was a coalition of Republicans and Democrats overrode Republican gubernatorial vetoes of the state budget on a large large scale,” said Horner.
There are two Senate seats in the hot spot right now: district 17 and 50. In the newly drawn district 17, Democratic candidate Iwen Chu is neck-and-neck with Republican candidate, Vito LaBella. Another extremely close race, Senate district 50 with incumbent John Mannion facing off against Republican candidate Rebecca Shiroff.
If the Democrats lose two seats, they no longer have the supermajority. If that’s the case, Horner said it would give the Governor more leverage because she knows it would be difficult for the opposing parties to work together, “In terms of the way this is most likely to play out, the Governor and the legislative leaders are all on the same team and I believe they’re gonna wanna do everything possible not to be put in the position of a veto override. It makes the Governor look bad, it puts the legislature in a tough spot.” Horner said the veto powers are most likely to play out in next year’s budget.