Issues: Elections

SQUADRON: SENATE REPUBLICANS CHOOSE CORPORATIONS OVER PEOPLE IN POLITICS

In Wake of GOP Committee Vote Against Campaign Finance Reform, Squadron Pushes Bill Forward with Petition for Chamber Consideration

Squadron-Lancman Legislation Would Make NY National Leader in Fight Against Citizens United

ALBANY – Today, State Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblyman Rory Lancman pushed back against Senate Republican efforts to stall their campaign finance reform legislation, with Senator Squadron initiating a petition for chamber consideration to move the bill forward. The legislation would make New York a national leader in the fight against the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision and give people, rather than corporations, a stronger voice in the political process.

The "Corporate Political Activity Accountability to Shareholders Act" (S101/A696A) would require shareholder approval for corporate political contributions, public disclosure of the contributions, and justification of the business rationale for making them.

This afternoon, the Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions Committee voted to prevent the legislation from moving out of committee. Senator Squadron has now begun circulating a petition for chamber consideration of the bill, which would bring the bill to the Senate floor if 38 signatures are collected from Senators.  

“As we look on in horror at the impact of Citizens United, New York has an opportunity to actually do something about it. Yet today, the Senate Republicans chose corporate interests over the interests of real people,” said Senator Squadron. “Make no mistake: unlimited corporate contributions are a threat to our democratic process. By reining in unchecked political influence and bringing desperately-needed transparency to the process, our bill would be a key step toward countering the flood of corporate influence that washes away the voice of regular people. I urge my colleagues to stand up for people over corporations in our politics and join the effort to move this bill to the floor."  

March 5, 2012
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Details emerge on possible redistricting amendment

An editorial by The Empire talks about the discussed ammendment to the constitution that would bring about change to the redistricting process. Michael Gianaris and other critics, however, point out that the proposed ammendment would still allow legislatures to have final say, which defeats the purpose of redistricting reform.

The Times-Union’s Casey Seiler has a piece up today about the emerging details of a possible deal between Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature for a constitutional amendment to change the state’s redistricting process.

 

March 2, 2012
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Details emerge on possible constitutional change

Times Union reports on negotiations between the Governor, Assembly, and Senate for a possible constitutional ammendment that would create an independent redistricting body. Many believe the new ammendment will not keep legislatures from influencing the redistricting process, including Senator Gianaris, who believes that "if the final product still leaves the Legislature with the final say, we’ve achieved nothing.”

A possible constitutional change to New York’s redistricting process would create a 10-member independent panel to draw the state’s political lines beginning in 2021, but would allow the Legislature to make final tweaks to the plan if the Assembly and Senate fail to pass it after two tries.

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March 2, 2012
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Veto the map, Gov. Cuomo

Former New York Mayor, Ed Koch, wrote an editorial for the New York Daily News that calls out the current redistricting proposal for being blatantly partisan and urges Governor Cuomo to veto any redistricting bill proposed by the legislature.

About two years ago, I felt the same way as most New Yorkers — our state government was dysfunctional, self-serving and an embarrassment. Along with a group of like-minded reformers, I decided to do something about it, forming New York Uprising, an advocacy effort to change the way legislative and congressional district lines are drawn.

 

Our goal, simply, was to return power to the people.

 

March 2, 2012
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SENATE PASSES BILL TO ALLOW CONTINUED USE OF LEVER-STYLE VOTING MACHINES

SENATE PASSES BILL TO ALLOW CONTINUED USE OF LEVER-STYLE VOTING MACHINESSignificant cost savings to local school districts, villages and special districts    The New York State Senate today passed a mandate relief bill that would allow school districts, special districts and villages to permanently continue using lever voting machines in their respective local elections, sponsored by Senator Jack Martins (S. 6296). This legislation would remove the 2012 sunset of provisions that would allow the ability to use the lever voting machines.    

March 1, 2012
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Senator Lee Zeldin Announces Passage of his Legislation to Protect the Confidentiality of Sexual Violence Victims

Albany, N.Y. – New York State Senator Lee M. Zeldin (R, C, I- Shirley) announced the passage of his legislation today to help protect the confidentiality of victims of sexual violence.

The bill (S.4073B), which will allow victims of sexual violence to have their voter records sealed in order to protect them from their attacker, passed the State Senate today with bi-partisan support and will now be delivered to the Assembly for consideration. The bill in the Assembly is being sponsored by Assemblyman Gabryszak (D-Cheektowaga).

February 29, 2012
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Senate Passes Bill to Allow Continued Use of Lever-Style Voting Machines

The New York State Senate today passed a mandate relief bill that would allow school districts, special districts and villages to permanently continue using lever voting machines in their respective local elections, sponsored by Senator Jack Martins (S. 6296). This legislation would remove the 2012 sunset of provisions that would allow the ability to use the lever voting machines.  The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) required states to adopt new voting machines in federal elections, and in implementing the Act, New York chose to use new machines for all elections. This has proven costly to local governments in both time and money.

February 29, 2012
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Don't make bad deal for bad maps

Newsday reports that a compromise suggested to the Governor that would validate the proposed redistricting maps, in exchange for promises to reform the process by 2022, would not fix the current redistricting problems and should not be considered.

Several observers of the once-in-a-decade redistricting of the State Senate and Assembly, including former Attorney General Robert Abrams and the nonpartisan good-government group Citizens Union, called on the governor yesterday to compromise on the new lines in exchange for a state constitutional amendment taking this process out of the hands of the legislature -- for the next round, in 2022.

February 29, 2012
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A farce, by any other name

An editorial written by Times Union highlights the degree to which New York's redistricing process is flawed, pointing to the fact that the proposed lines were so partisan, court judges were forced to intervene.

There may not be enough bad words in a thesaurus to fully describe the state Legislature’s handling of redistricting. But a court decision on Monday to take over the drafting of congressional lines in New York speaks volumes about how badly this state’s self-interested lawmakers have failed (see: completely, utterly, dismally).

 

February 29, 2012
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Cuomo must demand a permanent gerrymandering ban — or else

NY Daily News wrote and article about redistricting, saying that the Governor should enact reform that would put an end to gerrymandering.

Gov. Cuomo holds the ultimate weapon in the battle against gerrymandering — his threatened veto of district maps drawn in ridiculously partisan fashion by the Legislature.

 

He must void the absurd boundaries drawn by the Assembly and Senate and turn map -making over to the courts — except in the unlikely event that lawmakers radically alter their work and establish long-term reforms.

 

As things stand, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s Democrats and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ Republicans conspired in drawing districts with grossly uneven populations that maximize incumbent protection.

February 29, 2012
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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz 32nd Senatorial District

Bronx County, New York

Tel. 718-991-3161

The Bronx is not a colony.

You should know that I am just calling it the way I see it: the way the district lines have been drawn for New York’s Congressional seats indicates to me that there are some people who still believe in colonies.

February 27, 2012
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Down to the Wire on Redistricting

An editorial by the The New York Times reports that judges are expected to decide this week on whether or not a special master will be appointed to fix the redistricting debacle. Senator Gianaris believes that court intervention is the best hope for having fairer district lines drawn.

It is crunch time for New York lawmakers, who are required to draw new maps for Congressional and legislative districts in time for the 2012 elections. The Congressional primaries are supposed to take place June 26, and as usual, the mapmakers are extremely late. It’s possible that they will release the Congressional maps, which have been drawn up in secret, this week since the Legislature is hoping to approve the new district lines by March 1.

February 22, 2012
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Judges must fix redistricting mess

The Queens Chronicle wrote an article that further delves into the problems of the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal and how federal judges may need to step in.

Gov. Cuomo is reforming the state government in leaps and bounds, but many members of the Legislature haven’t gotten the memo yet. So the redrawing of lawmakers’ districts for the Assembly, Senate and U.S. Congress following the Census has been typical of the Albany of years past: behind schedule, nonsensical in many respects and, of course, utterly politicized.

February 22, 2012
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VIDEO: Senator Kennedy Testifies Before Redistricting Panel

Senator Timothy M. Kennedy, D-58th District, called Senate Republicans’ redistricting proposal a clear example of political gerrymandering during his testimony before the panel tasked with redrawing the state legislative map at their public hearing Thursday. He urged the panel to take their remap proposal back to the drawing boards.

February 16, 2012
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Senator Kennedy Calls Redistricting Proposal Political Gerrymandering, Urges LATFOR to Head Back to the Drawing Boards

Senator testifies before LATFOR public hearing at Buffalo City Hall

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Senator Timothy M. Kennedy, D-58th District, called Senate Republicans’ redistricting proposal a clear example of political gerrymandering during his testimony before the panel tasked with redrawing the state legislative map at their public hearing Thursday. He urged the panel to take their remap proposal back to the drawing boards.

February 16, 2012
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Redistricting Plan Gets Scornful Reception

The Queens Gazette reported on a redistricting hearing in Queens, where elected officials and community leaders were given the opportunity to voice their disapproval of the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal. Senator Gianaris spoke at the hearing and gave several examples of how the new district lines are being used to break apart minority communities in order to control district representation.

February 15, 2012
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The geography 
of a sham

The Times Union wrote an editorial that talks about redistricting and how it has recently become even clearer that the Senate Republicans are attempting to exploit the redistricting process as a means to promote their partisan agenda.

Our opinion: Yet again, we’re shown how blatantly partisan the redistricting process is. It’s not to late for the Legislature to do the right thing, but if it doesn’t, we’ll look to Governor Cuomo to stand firm.

 

Yes, we are writing again about redistricting, a topic that New York lawmakers are undoubtedly counting on people to get so tired of that we’ll all just shut up and let them rig elections for the next 10 years.

 

February 15, 2012
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A reform Democrat welcomes the court-mandated outcome for redistricting, redraws a line for Cuomo

An editorial by Capital discusses Senator Gianaris' acceptance of court involvement in the redistricting process, stating that it would ensure New Yorkers get fair district lines drawn.

A Democratic state senator who has campaign for redistricting reforms and bitterly criticized the new congressional and legislative district lines produced by the legislature said he's glad a federal judge yesterday called for a court intervention.

 

"After Senate Republican broken promises and months of delay we have reached a point where the courts must take action," Senator Michael Gianaris said in a statement. "We agree with the Judge's request. The only way New Yorkers will have fair representation is if the courts not politicians draw the district lines."

February 14, 2012
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Albany Redistricting Needs Court Master, Judge Rules

An editorial written by the New York Times discusses the possibility of courts intervening in the redistricting process, as a result of the Senate Republicans' inability to draw lines that are fair.

A federal judge, citing lawmakers’ “current state of inaction” in redrawing New York’s political map, recommended on Monday that the state’s redistricting process be turned over to a court-appointed special master.

 

Noting that Congressional primaries are scheduled for June, the judge, Dora L. Irizarry of Federal District Court in Brooklyn, said it was time for the federal courts to take charge of ensuring that New York has an election process that complies with state and federal law.

 

February 14, 2012
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Republican Restricting Plan Angers Queens Neighborhoods

Greek News posted an article about the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal and the harsh criticism it has received from minority groups for being partisan and for ignoring the needs of minority communities.

This time the Republicans have really done it! Their redistricting plan for redistricting has angered all ethnic groups living in New York City and suburbs and received tons of criticism as partisan and racist. On Tuesday more than 100 people gathered in a disproportionately small room at the Queens Borough Hall, for a town hall meeting to discuss LATFOR’s (Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment) proposed redistricting lines.

 

February 14, 2012
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