New York State Elections – Democrats Claim a “Veto-proof” Supermajority in the Senate

On election night, it initially appeared that Republicans were able to perform well enough in the Senate to withhold the Democrats from gaining a sought after supermajority. In the State Assembly, Republicans seemed to perform equally as well and were potentially looking at erasing a supermajority already held by the Democrats. However, as absentee ballots are being counted it has become clear that Democrats in each house will be victorious.

Yesterday, the Senate Democrats announced that they have secured enough seats to hold a supermajority in 2021. Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris took to a press conference at the Capitol yesterday afternoon to give the news based on the expectation that incumbent Senator Pete Harckham in the Hudson Valley will claim victory shortly. Democrat Michele Hinchey claimed victory over Republican Richard Amedure late last week.  At a minimum, the Senate Democrats will have 42 out of 63 seats going forward.  The Assembly Democrats will also maintain their existing supermajority, giving each house the ability to override a Governor’s veto.

The theme of absentee ballots being heavily favored towards the democrats remained true in the Assembly. At this time, it appears that the Democrats will actually end up increasing their supermajority by one seat and will have 108 seats in total leaving the Republicans with 42 seats.

What does this mean?  While democrats have been in control of both the Assembly and the Senate for several years, the Senate lacked the ability to override a veto by the Governor.  That will no longer be the case in the next session.  It means that the NY Senate, especially those in the NY Senate that represent the more progressive wing of the party, may now have the ability to block the Governor.  The Governor may now have to negotiate with the Senate on major initiatives.   This could impact broadcasters especially as it applies to potential new taxes and revenue items, such as digital advertising.

In addition to working with the Governor’s office, NYSBA is working closely with Assembly and Senate leadership.  It will be a very interesting session in 2021.


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