Hiram Monserrate Back With Democrats

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Turncoat Democratic senator Hiram Monserrate, who enraged Albany onlookers all last week after waffling over which side of the narrowly split State Senate he would choose in the coup he helped foment, has decided to stick with his home team, the Daily News reports. He'll announce at a press conference today that he made the decision based on assurances from Dem leadership that key bills he supports, including drug and alcohol testing for police officers who shoot civilians, and ending vacancy rent decontrol will make it to the floor. Whatever earmark, power, and positioning promises were also made have yet to be reported — though, as News columnist Juan Gonzalez noted today, this will all be short-lived, because by now Monserrate has committed "political suicide." This decision leaves the Senate in something of an even tougher spot than it was before, as it's now split 31–31, with no tie-breaking vote (the lieutenant governor would normally play that role, but since David Paterson was elevated after Eliot Spitzer resigned, and there is no replacement, they're stuck). Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver announced over the weekend that he'll send the members of his legislative bodies home after the official end of the session next week. Though Governor Paterson has urged all to extend their stays in Albany to resolve necessary bills, Silver said that if the Senate can't get their act together and get back to business, they'll leave them alone to struggle by themselves — forcing them to either accept bills as they've been passed by the Assembly, or leave them in chaotic limbo.

Sen. Hiram Monserrate tells News he'll return to Dems - without Sen. Pedro Espada [NYDN]
ALBANY SHEL SHOCK [NYP]