For the last six years, Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins has said she should be included in the top-level budget negotiations. Now, as she's poised to become the new majority leader in the Senate in 2019, she's saying who is included in those talks is not up to her.
"I personally don't see any reason to not have the minority leaders in, but it's not my room," said Stewart-Cousins.
Democrats in January will formally hold the majority and have the trappings of power. That includes the ability to bring legislation to the floor, more money for staff, and better office space.
"To the majority goes the spoils and in both houses the system is organized in a way that rewards the majority party, punishes the minority party, and gives the minority party as little influence as possible," said Blair Horner, NYPIRG legislative director.
Stewart-Cousins plans to continue the practice of having the majority party control most of the money. Republicans like Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb say this is to the detriment of consistuents who are not represented by a lawmaker in power.
"Do I think it's a disservice to every New Yorker? The answer is yes," said Brian Kolb, (R) assembly minority leader.
And that makes the job all the harder for lawmakers who are not in power to represent their constituents in Albany.
"You just have to go out and work as hard as you can for your constituents. It's almost like you can't cry over spilled milk," said Kolb.
NYPIRG's Blair Horner says things like office allocations should be more equally distributed, which will help boost constituent services in the process.
"It's all New York, not just Democrats and Republicans. It's all New Yorkers who pay the taxes to operate this beautiful building and we think that should be reflective of what happens here," said Horner.
Lawmakers return to the Capitol for the 2019 session in January.