Issues: Judiciary

Shooting The Messenger

Capital Tonight talks about the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal and Senator Gianaris' response against their attempt to avoid the current redistricting problem by promising an amendment to the constitution that would only bring reform to the next redistricing process in 10 years.

Sen. Mike Gianaris is pushing back very strongly against the growing belief that a deal is in the works for a constitutional amendment that would reform redistricting in time for the 2022 election cycle, but leave the current partisan process in place for this year’s elections.

February 13, 2012
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In Lawsuit, Senate Dems Decry “Blatantly Unconstitutional” Redistricting

Capital Tonight talks about the lawsuit filed by Senate Democrats against LATFOR's redistricting lines.

Senate Democrats this morning filed a lawsuit against LATFOR’s redistricted lines, arguing that the proposed maps are “blatantly unconstitutional.”

In the suit, filed in state Supreme Court, Democrats take aim at the proposed 63rd Senate seat that’s being placed in the Capital Region area and the mathematical formula Republicans use to justify the extra seat.

And the conference blasts LATFOR writ large for lacking transparency.

 Read the full article here.

February 13, 2012
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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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Inkblot districts are visible proof of Albany’s gerrymandering

The New York Daily News editorial investigates the oddly shaped districts in the Senate GOP's redistricting proposal and how they represent the unjustified approach Republicans used to draw district lines.

Do not mistake the nearby shapes for Rorschach inkblots.

They are visible proof of how flagrantly state Senate Republicans distorted the process of redrawing election districts.

The weird outlines also document why Gov. Cuomo must veto the maps.

January 30, 2012
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Gov. Cuomo must veto ridiculous new Senate and Assembly districts

An editorial by the New York Daily News talks about the Senate Republican's draft for new Senate and Assembly districts and how they have used redistricting to increase their power while abandoning the interests of voters.

Nothing less than the future of representative democracy in New York is on the line as the Legislature establishes new district lines based on the latest census.

By long-standing practice, lawmakers have drawn maps to protect incumbents while shutting out challengers. Democrats load up Assembly districts with Democrats; Republicans stock Senate districts with Republicans.

January 30, 2012
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A Veto for the Voters

The New York Times wrote an editorial discussing the Senate Republican's proposed legislative district maps, which are so blatantly partisan that Governor Cuomo's office has called them "simply unacceptable."

This week, New York State lawmakers unveiled proposed legislative district maps, based on the 2010 census and required in time for this year’s elections. The maps, as expected, are entirely designed to protect party interests for Republicans who control the State Senate districts and Democrats who run the Assembly.

January 30, 2012
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Two Senators Caught In The Crosshairs Of Redistricting Speak Out

NY1 posted a video of Senator Gianaris' interview on Inside City Hall where he talks about the need to get fair district maps drawn.

Watch the video here.

January 30, 2012
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Sen. Gianaris on Redistricting and the Primary Date

Capital Tonight had an interview with Senator Gianaris discussing the egregiously drawn district maps and the new primary date.

Watch the interview here.

January 30, 2012
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New lines draw veto threat

Times Union wrote an editorial that talks about the release of the new state legislative districts, which have drawn heavy criticism from Senate Democrats and could potentially be vetoed by Governor Cuomo.

New state legislative districts were unveiled Thursday amid a fusillade of criticism — including an unprecedented veto threat by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo's verdict came in a terse statement a few hours after the lines, which must be redrawn every 10 years to conform to the new federal Census, arrived at 2 p.m.

"At first glance, these lines are simply unacceptable and would be vetoed by the governor," said spokesman Josh Vlasto. "We need a better process and product."

[...]

January 30, 2012
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A senator, just for us?

An editorial by Times Union discusses the state Senate Republican's redistricting proposal and calls them out for being glaringly politically self-interested rather than serving the public's interest.

First came the pitch that the 63rd state Senate district the Republicans want to create in order to protect their tiny majority would be upstate. How nice of them, looking after a region that tends to get shortchanged politically and economically.

January 30, 2012
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The Capitol Pressroom for January 27, 2012

The Capitol Pressroom's Susan Arbetter did an interview with Senator Gianaris discussing the redistricting maps. 

Listen to the interview here

January 30, 2012
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LATFOR React-o-Mat: outraged Senate Dems edition

Capitol Confidential posted an article that highlights the many issues resulting from the state Senate Republican's redistricting proposal, which Senator Gianaris feels should not be tolerated by the people of New York.

Because we’re expecting several of them, we’re posting a separate React-o-Mat to corral statements from Senate Democrats ticked off by the release of LATFOR’s maps.

From Sen. Mike Gianaris, in a phone interview with Jimmy:

“I spent over five years making the case for an independent redistricting, and in five years I did not accomplish as much for the cause as Senate Republican’s did today. It’s about as bad — partisan, political — as you could imagine.”

January 30, 2012
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Gianaris Compares Senate GOP To Tom DeLay

Capital Tonight posted a video that features Senator Gianaris speaking about the blatant politicized process by which the Senate Republicans have drawn new district maps.

Watch the video here

January 30, 2012
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State Senate GOP majority wants to merge four Queens districts currently held by Dems into two

The New York Daily News article discusses the state Senate Republican's proposal for new districting lines that combines four Queens districts into two. Senator Gianaris believes that the Senate Republican's ploy further demonstrates why the redistricing process needs improvement.

The state Senate GOP majority wants to merge four Queens districts currently held by Democrats into two — and one is held by the chair of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.

Michael Gianaris, whose position makes him a main architect of Democratic campaign strategy in the Senate, would face a reelection dogfight against a Latino incumbent, Jose Peralta, in a heavily Latino district, sources said.

January 30, 2012
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As goo-goos despair, a reform legislator says court-drawn lines are still the 'most likely outcome'

An editorial written by Capital discusses the looming release of LATFOR's redistricing lines and the possibility that Governor Cuomo will veto the redistricting proposal. According to Senator Gianaris, LATFOR's inability to propose district lines that are fair will likely necessitate court involvement.

This week, the lawmakers running the redistricting process are expected to reveal the lines they came up with. (A lawmaker told me they may release Assembly and Senate lines as soon as today, but not congressional ones.)

January 30, 2012
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Local pols reject Morgan Stanley price fixing settlement

The Queens Courier wrote an article about the Department of Justice's $4.8 million settlement with Morgan Stanley for their illegal pricing scheme, which cost ratepayers roughly $300 million. Senator Gianaris and other local politicians are pushing the Dept. of Justice to increase the fine, arguing that the current settlement is unacceptable and would allow Morgan Stanley to keep millions in profit.

Local elected officials are expending “energy” to ensure Morgan Stanley doesn’t get a quick “fix” to its illegal pricing ploy.

January 23, 2012
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Ranzenhofer bill, which closes loophole for court evaders, passes State Senate

Albany, N.Y. – Senator Ranzenhofer’s legislation, closing a loophole in State law that does not allow courts to penalize persons when they fail to comply with the court, has passed the State Senate today. 

Senate Bill No. 3188 grants courts the authority to suspend a driver license – in cases of underage possession of alcohol and unlawful possession of marijuana – when a person fails to appear before the court or comply with the sentence of the court.

January 23, 2012
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Pols’ power play

The New York Post wrote an article about community leaders from Queens who are complaining that a $4.8 million fine issued to Morgan Stanley for a price-fixing scheme is not enough. Senator Gianaris feels that such an insignificant fine would continue to permit the bank to reap the benefits of its illicit profits.

Two local lawmakers have asked a judge to pull the plug on a deal that leaves victims of a huge electricity price-fixing scheme out in the cold.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris and City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., both Queens Democrats, wrote Manhattan federal Judge William Pauley asking him to order Morgan Stanley to refund millions of dollars to Con Ed customers.

[...]

January 20, 2012
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Senators Debate Constitution Over Adding 63rd Senate Seat

Politics on the Hudon posted a video of Senator Michael Gianaris and Senator Martin Malave Dilan discussing redistricting and responding to the Senate Republicans' effort to add a 63rd Senate seat.

Watch the video here

January 18, 2012
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