Friday, July 10, 2009

Stalemate at the Senate

I've delayed making any comment on the impasse at the New York State Capitol since the coup attempt on June 8th. I still don't know what to make of the whole thing and exactly where we go from here.
For those who don't know what happened, I'll try to sum up the events as concise as possible.
The way our laws are made in NY is that both the Senate and Assembly have to pass the bills, then and only then can the Governor sign them into law. One problem is that with whichever party has the majority, Democrat or Republican, bills may never make it to the floor for debate and vote. Good laws may never see the light of day and bad ones can be passed with the majority voting for them. In short, the people might have no say what-so-ever in what affects their daily lives.
Currently the Governor, Senate and Assembly are all Democrat. Laws can be passed through without a single vote from the Republicans, debate or not
On June 8th, the Republicans in the Senate teamed with 2 dissident Democrats to vote for new leadership in the chamber. This "coalition" made a motion and voted it in and the Democrats were stunned by the blindside. The Republicans seemed to take back the Senate with a 32-30 majority, but the struggle had just began.
One major issue was the fact that the 2 dissident Dems were not exactly the best examples of good public servants. One is under investigation for tax problems and the other is currently looking at an indictment for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend.
Another problem is also the fact that since former Governor Spitzer resigned and the Lt. Governor took over, the State has no Lt. Governor. In essence, if something were to happen to the Governor, the next in line of succession would be one of the 2 dissident Dems, according to the coalition vote. This scared both voters and lawmakers alike.
Shortly after the coup, which the Dems didn't acknowledge, one of the 2 Democrats jumped back to support his 30 other colleagues. This produced a 31-31 deadlock in the Senate. Weeks passed while the two sides battled over who was legally in charge. Nothing was getting done. Normally in situations like this, the Lt. Governor would be able to cast the deciding vote to bring the stalemate to a close. But with no Lt. Governor, that wasn't possible.
Fast-forward to now, the deadlock appears to be over. The last dissident jumped back to his conference. The Democrats now have the 32-30 majority again. The Governor appointed someone to fill the Lt. Governor's position, this is currently being debated whether it is constitutional or not.
What does this all mean? I can honestly tell you, I have no idea. Which brings me to a point, several actually.
Less than an hour before the coup attempt I was actually inside the Capitol Building. I had laid my hand on a pillar and quietly said ""In the Name of Jesus, the power of God inhabit these walls. All these walls, God you lead."
Little did I know that something would actually happen that fast. Whether the final position we're in was my intention or not, I cannot say. I just wanted the Spirit of God to move in that building. I'm going on faith that He did.
What happened, the gay marriage bill would not be brought before the Senate for a vote. The stalemate stalled the effort of the advocates, praise God.
Is that the final death blow of that movement? Again, I cannot say. But with things so delicate in that fractured chamber, something as controversial as gay marriage might bring more chaos again.
Another more important point to bring up is the plain-as-day fact that our votes might not mean ANYTHING! It became perfectly clear that our needs as citizens weren't factoring in the minds of the Senators. It was a blatant powergrab by BOTH political parties.
Laws were DEFINITELY broken by both sides and maybe even by the Governor himself.
My parting shot is this: Remember this mess! Remember what happened here when the polls open in 2010. We as Americans have the wonderful ability to put painful moments behind us. But we should never forget, especially when it comes to important decisions as electing our lawmakers.
The Senate clearly didn't care about us, the people. We need to remind them come election day who they work for. We are their bosses, not the other way around.
From the Federal level to the State and local levels, we need to retake what's Constutionally ours as taxpaying citizens who vote.
Pray that God continues to move in Government and that His will is done.
More to come on this story I'm sure.

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