How did I ever miss this? From the National Journal:
After weeks in which control of the New York state Senate was uncertain, the group of breakaway Democratic senators has struck a deal with Republicans to share control, the groups announced Tuesday.
The agreement means that the Independent Democratic Caucus will have formal recognition as a permanent third conference in the state Senate. Dean Skelos, the GOP Conference leader, and Sen. Jeffrey Klein, the IDC leader, will share "joint and equal authority." The title temporary president will alternate between the two men every two weeks.
The IDC has five members, including one Malcolm Smith of Queens (who joined up with that group, once they announced the power-sharing scheme); the reaction by the rest of the NY Democratic party can be fairly assessed by this paragraph (via Capitol Confidential):
Even so, much of the rhetoric from black senators and advocates seemed designed to deepen the wedge between the mainline conference and the breakaway faction. Recent IDC addition Malcolm Smith was compared to a cockroach multiple times.
Because, you know, that sort of thing does wonders to bring people back into the fold. Although, to be fair, Malcolm Smith IS reportedly thinking of running for NYC Mayor next year. As a Republican. Without switching parties... which is apparently possible in New York, simply because the state likes to be difficult that way. As to the actual practical results of all of this? Well, there's an excellent bit from the musical 1776 that covers this, I think:
Lewis Morris: [as John Hancock is about to swat a fly] Mr. Secretary, New York abstains, courteously.
[Hancock raises his fly swatter at Morris, then draws back]
John Hancock: Mr. Morris,
[pause, then shouts]
John Hancock: WHAT IN HELL GOES ON IN NEW YORK?
Lewis Morris: I'm sorry Mr. President, but the simple fact is that our legislature has never sent us explicit instructions on anything!
John Hancock: NEVER?
[slams fly swatter onto his desk]
John Hancock: That's impossible!
Lewis Morris: Mr. President, have you ever been present at a meeting of the New York legislature?
[Hancock shakes his head "No"]
Lewis Morris: They speak very fast and very loud, and nobody listens to anybody else, with the result that nothing ever gets done.
[turns to the Congress as he returns to his seat]
Lewis Morris: I beg the Congress's pardon.
John Hancock: [grimly] My sympathies, Mr. Morris.
Which... has its points, really.
Moe Lane (crosspost)