Issues: Voter Registration

New lines, same game

This New York Post editorial reports on the Senate Republicans' redistricting plans, calling them out for blatantly promoting the Republicans' agenda by giving them control over appointment of state Senate seats.

Every state goes through reapportionment following each federal Census, when changes in political district lines must be made to reflect population shifts.

It’s never a pretty process, but rarely does it get more ugly than in New York — suffering a decades-long decline in population and burdened, as it is, with a particularly odious political class.

Each time, legislative bosses draw lines that essentially protect their incumbent members as well as their respective majorities in each house.

February 13, 2012
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Senator Montgomery Announces NYSABPRL's 41st Annual Legislative Conference Workshop & Event Schedule

The 41st Annual Legislative Conference of the NYS Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators will convene on Friday, February 17th and conclude on Sunday, February 19th, 2012. The theme of this year’s conference is “Open Doors to Employment, Opens Doors to Empowerment."

The Conference schedule of educational workshops and weekend-long events is included here in a pdf format that can be downloaded.  More information on the Legislative Conference may be obtained by visiting www.nysabprl.org.

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February 9, 2012
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Lawmakers Already Drawing Up Special Session Wish Lists

The Capitol wrote about the pressing issue of independent restricting being on Governnor Cuomo's agenda for the potential Legislature in Albany that will meet to discuss the state budget. Passing independent redistricting is at the top of the list of things we need to take care of.

If Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls the Legislature back to Albany this year to deal with a $350 million budget shortfall, lawmakers say he could also open the door to debating a host of simmering issues – including independent redistricting.

The next legislative session begins in less than two months, but Cuomo told radio host Susan Arbetter yesterday that the budget gap could force his hand: “If this trend continues, we may have to bring back the Legislature.”

[...]

November 15, 2011
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GOP may add state Senate seat: Rumor

Yournabe.com wrote about the issue of gerrymandering within the GOP. This only furthers the argument for an independing redistricting process, away from partisan temptations to gain majority through unfair means.

Republicans in the state Senate are reportedly thinking of adding an extra seat in the upper chamber when the redrawing of district lines are conducted next year.

[...]

Sens. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) and Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said they had “heard rumors” that Republicans were in fact looking to add an extra seat.

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September 29, 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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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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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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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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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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Inmates key in redistricting issue

There is a cloud over the entire redistricting process. Albany Times Union wrote about LATFOR's continued use of prison-based gerrymandering, despite a 2010 law making it illegal.

ALBANY -- Good-government and civil rights groups charge New York's commission on legislative redistricting will break a 2010 law if it counts inmates where they are jailed.

The legislative commission, known as LATFOR, held its first meeting last week in Albany and announced it will for now ignore a 2010 law -- passed when Democrats controlled the Senate, Assembly and Executive Mansion -- that requires inmates be counted at their last known address.

July 12, 2011
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SENATOR MONTGOMERY HONORS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD RECIPIENT DOROTHY BURNHAM, A BROOKLYN “RENAISSANCE WOMAN”

The lifetime achievements of Brooklyn native Dorothy Burnham were recognized and lauded by NYS Senator Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn) during the reading of a Senate resolution, which was unanimously passed by the full Senate during the final days of the 2011 Legislative Session. The resolution paid tribute to Dorothy Burnham’s many notable contributions to our public education system, the advancement of civil rights, and to the promotion of racial and economic equality. Ms. Burnham was also honored for her designation as recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award by the New York Friends of the People's World. “Dorothy Burnham is a Renaissance Woman,” said Senator Montgomery.

July 11, 2011
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Senator Dilan Calls on LATFOR to Employ Fair, Open Redistricting and Honor Public Demands

Urges colleagues to abide by fair standards at task force’s first public meeting

Senator Martin Malavé Dilan, member of the Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR), urged colleagues to embrace many of the reforms the public has been calling for during the task force’s first public meeting of the 2011- 12 redistricting process.

July 6, 2011
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Redistricting Override Sign On Letter

Senator Dilan, collegues, remain committed to supporting Gov's veto of LATFOR lines. 

File: 
Redistricting Override Sign On Letter

April 7, 2011
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