Relishing Victory, NY Senate GOP Discuss Next Steps

ALBANY (AP) -

The Republicans who will soon control the New York Senate will gather Monday in Albany to discuss their priorities and complicated relationships with the Democrats who run the rest of state government.

The meeting will serve as an orientation for the seven new Republicans elected this month as well as an opportunity for all the GOP senators to sketch out goals for the session that begins in January, according to a spokesman for Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos of Long Island.

The Senate had been led by an unusual coalition of Republicans and a breakaway faction of Democrats known as the Independent Democratic Conference. But Republicans won the majority outright in this month’s elections and will hold 32 seats in the 63-member chamber. One Democrat is expected to join them at the Capitol on Monday — Simcha Felder, a social conservative who joined with the Republican conference last term.

With Andrew Cuomo in the governor’s office and Democrats firmly in control of the Assembly, the Senate remains the last bastion of GOP strength in New York government.

Democratic priorities next year include raising the minimum wage and approving financial aid for students in the country illegally. Top Republicans object to both of those proposals and say the focus needs to be on cutting taxes and regulations.