Issues: Voter Protection

Legislature prepares for session with elections looming

The Ithaca Journal wrote an article that highlights the Senate Republicans rejection of the formation of an independent redistricting task force, which was proposed by Senate Democrats. Senator Gianaris believes that redistricting reform is an urgent matter and that Senate Republicans have abandoned their promise to fix it.

Lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have spent recent months touting their legislative accomplishments in 2011: an on-time budget, a 2 percent property tax cap, a revamped income tax code and a sense of renewed collegiality in a Capitol long known for its partisanship.

That doesn't mean, however, that there isn't plenty on the table for 2012.

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January 18, 2012
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STATEMENT FROM SENATOR MICHAEL GIANARIS PRAISING SLA DENIAL OF LIC STRIP CLUB APPLICATION

“I am thrilled the State Liquor Authority stood with the Long Island City community today when it voted against the Gypsy Rose liquor license application. This neighborhood is no place for a sex-based business, and today’s vote brings us one step closer to ensuring the wholesome, family-friendly environment in which an increasing number of people live and work. It is clear the SLA takes community input to heart and I commend the board for today’s decision.”

January 18, 2012
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ASTORIA LEADERS FIGHT TO PROTECT RATEPAYERS

Queens, NY – Continuing their efforts to protect energy ratepayers, Senator Michael Gianaris and Council Member Peter F. Vallone, Jr. are pushing a federal judge to reject the proposed settlement for an illegal price-fixing case involving Morgan Stanley and two western Queens power plants that caused ratepayers to lose nearly $300 million in two years.

January 17, 2012
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New Senate seat plan is GOP power play that will cost taxpayers

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle wrote an editorial calling Senate Republicans out on their reneged campaign promises of redistricting reform. Senator Gianaris believes this kind of political power play is intolerable. 

Many of the same Republican state lawmakers who hoodwinked New Yorkers into thinking they supported independent redistricting now insist that adding one more seat in the state Senate is good government. Unlikely.

This time around New Yorkers need to let GOP lawmakers know that their ploy for power is as transparent as plastic wrap. Call them and tell them so.

January 13, 2012
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Senator Gianaris speaks at a rally opposing the granting of a liquor license to the Gypsy Rose gentlemen's club

Senator Gianaris speaking at a rally opposing the granting of a liquor license to the Gypsy Rose strip club in LIC, a flourishing, family-oriented neighborhood where a strip club does not belong.

January 13, 2012
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Senator Gianaris discusses MTA issues at a Sunnyside town hall

Senator Gianaris speaking at a Sunnyside town hall, hosted by Councilmember Van Bramer, focusing on MTA issues affecting the neighborhood.

January 12, 2012
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Senator Gianaris co-hosts a CUNY Citizenship Now! event

Senator Gianaris speaking at the CUNY Citizenship Now! event he co-hosted with Assemblymember Nolan and Councilmember Van Bramer.

January 9, 2012
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Crime wave in Astoria sparks call for new civilian patrols and block watchers

NY Daily News wrote on the recent efforts by Senator Gianaris and other elected officials to resond to the string of crime in Astoria. Senator Gianaris' bills to protect children from predators in addition to expanding the Good Samaritan Law to small businesses will combat these crimes and reduce the amount of danger in our streets.

A recent spate of gropings, car break-ins and purse snatchings is sparking calls for expanded civilian patrols and block watchers in Astoria.

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Vallone, along with state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria), rallied with local residents last week and unveiled a anti-crime plan that includes both legislation and civic activism.

November 29, 2011
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Keep Race, Job Protection Out Of Redistricting, New York State Voters Tell Quinnipiac University Poll

Quinnipiac University's poll yeilded in results that called the need for a fair and unbiased redistricting process, particualrly not taking into account race or occupation. A majority of New York voters support an independent commission to draw district lines and oppose drawing lines to protect incumbents

Don't draw legislative district lines to create racial or ethnic districts, such as blacks and Hispanics, New York State voters say 72 - 21 percent in a Quinnipiac University poll released today. There is strong agreement among all political groups.

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October 27, 2011
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Inside the Albany gerrymandering machine: How N.Y. pols rig the game

The Daily News wrote about how Senate GOP is trying to manipulate the redistricting process for its own political benefit. This is simply politics at its worst and must not be tolerated.

Here is how Republicans in the state Senate talk about redrawing district lines when they think no one is paying attention:

They loosely refer to black and Latino communities on Long Island as "politically undesirable areas."

They strategize about the best way to "strengthen the Long Island delegation" of nine Republicans.

They angle to create low-population or "light" districts upstate to maximize the number of GOP senators.

And their decision about creating a particular district comes down to a judgment about whether it will be "a Republican pickup."

September 27, 2011
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Redistricting Advocate Discussion The Best Way To Redraw State Lines

Senator Gianaris was on NY1 with Inside City Hall’s Errol Louis and executive director of Common Cause New York, Susan Lerner, to discuss redistricting and the need for an independent redistricting commission.

See the full video interview here.

September 22, 2011
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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:

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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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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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State Sen. Gianaris criticizes NY's redistricting system

Queens Times Ledger wrote about Senator Gianaris' fight for an independent redistricting process:

The state agency responsible for redrawing legislative district boundaries was set to hold a forum this week to solicit input from the public.

The boundaries for districts of the state Legislature and Congress will be redrawn in 2012 in response to the 2010 U.S. Census. The boundaries of the City Council will be redrawn in 2013.

Since the populations in each district have either risen or fallen, the boundaries need to be adjusted so each legislator represents a similar number of people.

September 8, 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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