Last month after 6 years of caucusing with the NY State Senate Republicans, the “Independent Democratic Conference” or “IDC” dissolved and their 8 members have rejoined the New York State Senate Democrats. With the reunification of the Senate Democrats there is new hope that pro-tenant legislation that has been blocked by the Republicans will be passed.
A little bit of history. In 2008 the Democrats elected a majority to the State Senate for the first time since the 1970s. Tenant advocates were hopeful that pro-tenant laws which regularly pass in the Democratic-controlled Assembly but die in the Senate would have a chance. Instead, a number of Democrats decided to join with the Republicans, keeping to the Senate in Republican hands.
In 2012, Democrats again won the Senate. A handful of Democrats, calling themselves the IDC, again sided with the Republicans. The result was that for the last 6 years much good pro-tenant legislation never got passed and hundreds of thousands of rent regulated apartments have been lost. (IDC members argue that thanks to them some pro-Tenant laws were passed).
Now that the IDC members have rejoined the Democrats we are closer to a Democratic State Senate. One more seat stands between tenants and the landlords.
Many tenant advocates are understandably still distrustful of the former IDC members who now face primary challenges in the fall.
Some of the laws that could be passed if we had a truly progressive Democratic Senate are:
- End of vacancy decontrol
- Ending Preferential Rent abuse
- Ending the Vacancy Bonus
- MCI reform
A guide to the State Senate races can be found here:
To find out how you can help elect pro-tenant legislators and pass pro-tenant legislation go to these sites: