Yesterday, over claims from sponsor Tom Duane that the bill now has sufficient Republican support, representatives of Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith reiterated that he wouldn’t let the state’s much-discussed same-sex marriage bill come to the Senate floor until he was certain it had the number of votes necessary to pass.
This sounds a lot like the ‘old’ Senate, where the Majority Leader’s total control over the floor calendar meant that only bills with the leader’s support reached the floor, and when they did, their outcome was a forgone conclusion. This is particularly troubling given Smith’s promise prior to the 2008 election that if his party regained control of the chamber, they would enact reform to “allow a lot of good bills to come to the floor.”
Lawmakers know that they are reelected or voted out of office based on their voting records; protecting Senators from going on the record is tantamount to exempting them from public accountability. Smith should let the marriage bill come to a floor for a vote and force our Senators - particularly those who have been publicly hedging - to show their constituents where they stand.