Senate Republican Conference Leader John Flanagan, R-East Northport, has appointed four new committee chairs to fill the vacancies created by the disbanding of the Independent Democratic Conference.
Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the IDC would rejoin the mainline Senate Democrats in an effort to create a unified and progressive Democratic Senate. This left four committee chair vacancies once filled by IDC members.
Sen. Fred Akshar, R-Binghamton, was appointed chair of the Labor Committee to replace Sen. Marisol Alcantara, D-Manhattan.
Sen. Chris Jacobs, R-Buffalo, will replace Sen. David Carlucci, D-Clarkstown, as chair of the Consumer Protection Committee.
Sen. Elaine Phillips, R-Flower Hill, will take Sen. Jesse Hamilton’s, D-Brooklyn, spot as chair of the Banks Committee.
Sen. Pam Helming, R-Canandaigua, will replace Sen. Tony Avella, D-Whitestone, as chair of the Children and Families Committee.
Since rejoining Democrats, former IDC member Sen. Jose Peralta, D-Queens, has released a statement in support of unity with mainline Democrats. Peralta says that Democratic unity will help pass progressive legislation.
“Together, as one block, we can send a clear message to Washington and let this racist, anti-immigrant government know what we are made of in New York,” Peralta said.
The Senate is now split with 29 Democrats, 31 Republicans and two vacant seats that will be filled in a special election on April 24. The deciding vote on some legislation may fall in the hands of Brooklyn Sen. Simcha Felder, a Democrat who conferences with Republicans.
Felder has said repeatedly he has no loyalty to either party.