Issues: General

Senator Krueger Encourages You to Get Involved in Redistricting Process

The State’s Task Force charged with developing a redistricting plan for the State’s Congressional, Senate and Assembly district lines will be holding a hearing in Manhattan this Wednesday, the 21st.

Senator Krueger encourages you to attend this meeting and submit a comment. Involvement is needed to best ensure our democratic process is not tainted by politically-driven gerrymandering.

Click HERE for information on this week’s hearing and how to submit testimony.

September 19, 2011
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Avella, Gianaris call for state independent redistricting

Queens Campaigner wrote about the Queens LATFOR meeting and the need for an independent commission to redraw district lines.

If any teacher wanted to instruct students about gerrymandering, a field trip to state Sen. Tony Avella’s (D-Bayside) district might be a good place to start.

The lawmaker represents an unpopulated, rocky stretch of sand that forms a border around — but does not encroach upon — the neighborhood of Bay Terrace. It connects the neighborhood of Whitestone to the rest of his district by winding around the coast of Little Bay near the Throngs Neck Bridge — but only during low tide.?

September 15, 2011
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Marshall Calls For In-Borough Congressional Districts

Queens Gazette wrote about the redistricting hearing that took place in Queens, in which Senator Gianaris participated:

[...]

Governor Andrew Cuomo has said he would veto any plan that does not meet his criteria for fairness. Cuomo proposed the creation of an independent commission, but legislation introduced in the Assembly was not approved in the senate. LATFOR consists of six members, four from the state legislature and two non-legislators.

September 14, 2011
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GIANARIS BILLS STRENGTHEN VOTING PROCESS

Queens Gazette wrote about the bills Senator Gianaris has introduced that enchance the voting process:

Four bills which would result in increased voter participation, a more efficient Board of Elections and make ballot casting more convenient have been introduced by state Senator Michael Gianaris (D–Astoria).

The lawmaker said, “The upcoming special elections remind us of the importance of voting. As we quickly approach 2012, it is vital that we make voting an accessible and convenient process in order to maximize turnout. Every ballot counts and New Yorkers must be able to exercise this valuable right as easily as possible.”

The four bills do the following:

September 14, 2011
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SENATOR GIANARIS SEEKS TO ENHANCE VOTING PROCESS THROUGH SPONSORED LEGISLATION

Reminds New Yorkers of the importance of voting in upcoming September 13 elections.

Queens, NY – Senator Michael Gianaris has introduced four bills in the Senate that would strengthen the voting process and make ballot-casting more convenient. These measures would result in increased voter participation and a more efficient Board of Elections.

Senator Gianaris said, “The upcoming special elections remind us of the importance of voting. As we quickly approach 2012, it is vital that we make voting an accessible and convenient process in order to maximize turnout. Every ballot counts, and New Yorkers must be able to exercise this valuable right as easily as possible.”

The four bills amend New York State law in the following ways:

September 9, 2011
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New districts cannot divide immigrant neighborhoods in Queens, advocates say

The Daily News wrote about how redistricting could affect various immigrant groups in Queens.

State officials must draw new district lines that give growing Queens immigrant groups a stronger voice, advocates demanded this week during a nearly six-hour public hearing.

A joint Senate-Assembly body that oversees redistricting has held public sessions throughout New York since July - and the meeting Wednesday in Queens drew one of the largest crowds in the state.

September 9, 2011
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Queens Residents Fear Divided Neighborhoods Through Gerrymandering

NY1 reported on the redistricting public hearing that took place in Queens.

Every 10 years, a task force draws new district lines for state politicians based on census results, and at a Wednesday hearing today in Kew Gardens, Queens, critics alleged that lawmakers do it first and foremost with keeping their seat in mind.

Watch the video here.

September 8, 2011
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September 7, 2011
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Prison count numbers show big shifts in upstate districts

Politics on the Hudson wrote about the data found by the Assembly study on how to count New York State prisoners. Senator Gianaris believes that the use of these numbers to redraw district lines would allow New Yorkers to be represented fairly.

With a court battle still pending, Assembly Democrats have released updated population figures for use during the redistricting process, counting prisoners at their last-known address rather than where they are incarcerated.

September 6, 2011
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Prisoner-adjusted Senate/Assembly districts (UPDATED)

Capitol Confidential wrote about the Assemly's study on counting prisoners. This data will help clear the air around the redistricting process.

I have an article in today’s paper about Assembly Democrats releasing new population figures for state legislative districts, showing which ones increased and decreased when inmates (per a 2010 law) are counted at their last known address — not in their jail cells.

As we all expected, the biggest losers are rural, upstate Republicans. Only one Senate Democrat — Suzi Oppenheimer of Westchester County — had a significant population loss as a result of the recounting. As Ken Lovett noted today, districts in New York City pick up the gains.

September 6, 2011
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Law counting prisoners towards population in home community could redraw districts in Dems favor

LATFOR should use the results of the Assembly's study as they continue the redistricting process. The Daily News wrote about the study on how to count prisoners for purposes of redistricting.

ALBANY - Prisoners in New York can't vote, but they may decide which party controls the state Senate next year.

A new law now requiring prisoners to be counted toward the population of their home community - rather than where they are serving time - could dramatically alter the political landscape of more than a dozen upstate districts.

That's because state officials will redraw legislative and congressional districts based on 2010 Census Bureau population figures in time for the 2012 elections.

September 6, 2011
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Big line shift likely

Prison-based gerrymandering is illegal and must not be used when redrawing district lines. The Times-Union wrote about a study conducted by the State Assembly which counts prisoners at there home address for purposes of redistricting.

ALBANY -- Several Senate districts in upstate New York would lose more than 5,000 constituents, according to newly analyzed data that may guide district lines.

The datasets, released Monday by Assembly Democrats, change Census figures normally used to draw districts for the Senate, Assembly and Congress so as to count prison inmates at their last known address -- not in their cells.

September 6, 2011
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Dems Hopeful Court Ruling Will Favor Them During Redistricting

Senator Gianaris was on YNN’s Capital Tonight with Liz Benjamin to discuss Nassau County’s redistricted lines, which were recently overturned by the Court of Appeals.

September 2, 2011
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GOP gets slammed in LI redistricting

Capitol Confidential wrote about Nassau's overruled district lines, which exemplifies New York's need for a bipartisan redistricting process.

Senate Democrats are already hailing this as a precursor for the broader statewide redistricting battle. That remains to be seen, but today’s Court of Appeals ruling against the Republican-dominated plan for redistricting the Nassau County legislature is a defeat for the GOP.

Dems also note that this is quite a defeat for the GOP’s election lawyer, John Ciampoli.

More than a half million Nassau Co. residents would have been in new districts, they noted.

Senate Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy issued the following statement. Below that is the opinion.

August 30, 2011
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Court Of Appeals Rejects Nassau County Lines

State of Politics wrote about a Court of Appeals rejection of Nassau county district lines. Legislative district lines must not be drawn in a manipulated, partisan manner.

A Court of Appeals decision for Nassau County could have statewide implications for the redrawing of legislatively boundaries next year.

Or, at least that’s what Senate Democrats hope.

The Court of Appeals ruled 7-2 7-0, with two judges dissenting in part (whoops!), this morning rejected boundaries drawn by the Nassau County Legislature, which the judges claim ignored a three-step process as laid out in a county charter.

August 30, 2011
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Ethics Law Just First Step, Reformers Say

By Karen DeWitt

Governor Cuomo signed into law new ethics oversight legislation, but some say the measure is flawed, and that there is still work to be done to fight corruption in government.

Cuomo signed the ethics law without fanfare or a public ceremony. In a statement, he touted the new stricter requirements for disclosure of lawmakers' outside income, a 14 member ethics panel empowered to probe charges of corruption, and the elimination of pensions for elected officials in the future who are convicted of a felony. Cuomo called it a "major step forward in restoring the people's trust in government and changing the way Albany does business".

August 24, 2011
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They're in the Back Room

New York Times editorialized the need for the Governor to veto any legislative district lines not drawn in a bipartisan manner. We need to create an independent redistricting commission now.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York has taken a strong stand against gerrymandering. He put forward a good bill that would create an independent commission to draw political districts and promised to veto any new maps that are “partisan.” Albany’s pols are not giving up.

Mr. Cuomo’s bill went nowhere, despite the fact that a hefty majority of legislators signed a pledge in 2010 to support such a commission. The old-style task force is now drawing up maps, and the business-as-usual crowd is trying to figure out how to get around the veto threat.

August 24, 2011
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Call lawmakers back to Albany to vote on redistricting

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle editoriliazed on the need for lawmakers to keep their promises and pass independent redistricting. We need a special session to vote on this issue and establish a fair process.

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo returns from his summer vacation at an undisclosed location somewhere in New York state, he should move swiftly on critically important post-session loose ends such as redistricting.

On page 17 of his 2010 campaign handbook, The New NY Agenda: A Plan for Action, Cuomo made it clear that he would "fight" for an independent redistricting commission.

August 22, 2011
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Senator Gianaris on Capital Tonight to discuss LATFOR meetings

Senator Gianaris was on YNN's Capital Tonight with Liz Benjamin to discuss redistricitng in light of the ongoing LATFOR meetings.

August 15, 2011
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Senators DeFrancisco, Gianaris to debate redistricting on Wednesday

‎Syracuse Post-Standard wrote about the joint-interview/debate Senator Gianaris and Senator DeFrancisco will participate in this afternoon on The Jim Reith Show.

Syracuse -- Two New York Senators are scheduled to talk about legislative redistricting Wednesday on The Jim Reith Show on WSYR radio.

Sen. John DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse, has been critical of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal to create an independent commission to redraw state and congressional political boundaries, questioning whether such a commission could be independent of political influences.

July 27, 2011
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