The 90th New York State Legislature, consisting of the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly, met from January 1 to April 20, 1867, during the third year of Reuben E. Fenton's governorship, in Albany.
Under the provisions of the New York Constitution of 1846, 32 Senators and 128 assemblymen were elected in single-seat districts; senators for a two-year term, assemblymen for a one-year term. The senatorial districts were made up of entire counties, except New York County (four districts) and Kings County (two districts). The Assembly districts were made up of entire towns, or city wards, forming a contiguous area, all within the same county.
On April 16, 1866, the Legislature re-apportioned the Assembly seats per county. Allegany, Chenango, Herkimer, Jefferson, Livingston, Steuben and Suffolk counties lost one seat each; Erie County gained one seat, Kings County gained two seats; and New York County gained four seats.
On April 25, 1866, the Legislature re-apportioned the Senate districts.
At this time there were two major political parties: the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. During the American Civil War many War Democrats had joined the Republicans, and after the end of the war the parties re-aligned, leaving the Democrats in a minority. To increase their ranks, the Democrats now proposed to form a "Conservative Union" of Democrats and Conservative Republicans, and nominated a state ticket with Democrat John T. Hoffman for Governor, and Republican Robert H. Pruyn for Lieutenant Governor.
The New York state election, 1866 was held on November 6. Gov. Reuben E. Fenton was re-elected. Stewart L. Woodford (R) was elected Lieutenant Governor, and the other two statewide elective offices up for election were carried by the Republicans too. The approximate party strength at this election, as expressed by the vote for Governor, was: Republicans 366,000 and Conservative Union 352,000. According to the Constitution of 1846, twenty years after its elaboration the electorate was asked if they wanted a Constitutional Convention to be held, which was answered in the affirmative.
The Legislature met for the regular session at the Old State Capitol in Albany on January 1, 1867; and adjourned on April 20.
Edmund L. Pitts (R) was elected Speaker with 80 votes against 43 for Jarvis Lord (D).
On January 15, the Legislature elected Roscoe Conkling (R) to succeed Ira Harris as U.S. Senator from New York for a six-year term beginning on March 4, 1867.
On January 25, the State Senate concluded the trial of George W. Smith, Judge of the Oneida County Court, and removed Smith from office.
On January 31, Charles J. Folger was re-elected President pro tempore of the State Senate.
On April 1, John O'Donnell (R) was elected President pro tempore "for the evening."
On April 10, Henry C. Murphy (D) was elected President pro tempore "for the day."
On April 23, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention were elected, resulting in a Republican majority.
On June 4, the Constitutional Convention met at Albany. William A. Wheeler was chosen President, and Luther Caldwell Secretary. On the opening day, one of the delegates, Assemblyman L. Harris Hiscock was murdered at Stanwix Hall (a hotel in Albany).
On September 23, the Constitutional Convention adjourned.
On November 5, the New York state election, 1867, was held. All eight statewide elective offices up for election were carried by the Democrats, and a Democratic majority was elected to the Assembly.
On November 12, the Constitutional Convention met again, and adjourned sine die on February 28, 1868. How to put the proposed amendments before the electorate was then debated throughout the 91st and the 92nd Legislatures, and all amendments, except the re-organization of the judicial system, were eventually rejected by the voters at the New York state election, 1869.
Note: The Senators in the 90th Legislature had been elected in November 1865 for a two-year term under the apportionment of 1857, as listed below. Although the 89th Legislature (1866) had re-apportioned the Senate districts, the first election under the new apportionment was held in November 1867, to elect the senators who sat in the 91st Legislature.
The asterisk (*) denotes members of the previous Legislature who continued in office as members of this Legislature.Clerk: James Terwilliger
Sergeant-at-Arms: Arthur Hotchkiss
Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms: Sanders Wilson
Doorkeeper: Herman B. Young
First Assistant Doorkeeper: Frank M. Jones
Second Assistant Doorkeeper: Nathaniel Saxton
Third Assistant Doorkeeper: August Wagner
The asterisk (*) denotes members of the previous Legislature who continued as members of this Legislature.
Party affiliations follow the vote for Speaker.Clerk: Luther Caldwell
Sergeant-at-Arms: John H. Kemper
Doorkeeper: J. B. Davis
First Assistant Doorkeeper: Charles G. Gardiner
Second Assistant Doorkeeper: James Tanner