One of Governor Cuomo's top priorities for this legislative session may be facing some difficulty in the coalition-run Senate. And looking ahead, it seems like the Reproductive Health Act could create more divisions in the already fractured chamber.
The coalition of 30 Republicans and six Democrats who are aligned in a coalition government faced an early test when it came to passing Governor Andrew Cuomo's gun control law.
But now new pressure will likely come later in the legislative session when Cuomo pushes his women's equality legislation. At the centerpiece is an expansion of abortion rights that's been opposed by the Senate GOP in the past.
"We passed marriage equality. Let's make history again and let's pass a women's equality act in the state of New York," said Cuomo.
The measure could face trouble in the Senate, where Republicans have been hesitant to take up reproductive health issues. But IDC Leader Jeff Klein says the focus should be on mainline Democrats who don't have enough votes to pass the bill.
"The problem is the regular Democratic conference – not all pro-choice. Right now, we do not have 32 Democrats in the State Senate to pass women's reproductive health. That's unfortunate. I think we really need to take a step back and define what are core Democratic issues and I think this is one of them," Klein said.
The difficulties of coalition government, meanwhile, were on display this week in smaller ways. The coalition extended two committee chairmanships to mainline Democrats: Senators Eric Adams and James Sanders. Adams took the post, while Sanders didn't, even though a press release said he had.
"And the other member agreed to take the committee and I guess he had a change of heart. But again that doesn't preclude James Sanders; he's a former councilmember now in the state Senate, from working with us," Klein said.
On the political side, more hiccups. The Manhattan Republican Committee announced Klein and Republican Leader Dean Skelos would hold a fundraiser together to benefit the GOP. But then a Klein spokesman announced that no fundraiser with Klein and the IDC would be held.