After years in the minority, Democrats won control of the state Senate in 2018. Since then, they’ve only grown their majority.
Now, Democrats are expected to control two thirds of the seats in the 63-member chamber, giving the legislature new power over fellow Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo.
"I'm announcing that in 2021, we will begin our season with a historic supermajority, and it will also be the biggest Senate majority conference in the history of New York State," said state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
The State Assembly already has a Democratic supermajority. With the addition of the Senate, the legislature as a whole can override the governor’s veto. That gives lawmakers more negotiating power with the budget and the power to pass legislation without ever having to compromise.
Last year, the legislature passed a controversial bail reform package that many Republicans blamed for a spike in crime.
"Whether you are talking about the Republicans, right-wing billionaires, and PBAs across this street, everyone who voted in a state Senate election knew that bail was an issue. And they made their choice. And they returned not just the number of Democrats we had, but even more, to the senate," said Deputy Senate Majority Leader Michael Gianaris.
Cuomo says he supported Senate Democrats, and doesn’t think his leverage in budget negotiations shifts much because of the supermajority.
"Senators are individuals. They are not really a monolith or sheep. So, I do think there has ever been a situation where I disagreed with every Senate," Cuomo said. "And you have to remember, they represent different parts of the state."
After the 2020 Census, the district lines will be redrawn, and Democrats will have a lot more power to draw them favorably toward keeping their majority for at least the next decade. Democrats won big the last two cycles, even when those same lines were drawn by Republicans to favor their own candidates.