In a continuation of his work to reform the redistricting process, Senator Martin Malavé Dilan (D-Brooklyn) has been appointed as a member of the Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment for the Senate Democratic Conference.“The State Senate must remain a bellwether of redistricting reforms in New York. The ability to disenfranchise any one-person or community for the sake of political gain with the stroke of a pen is unconscionable,” said Senator Dilan.
Senator Martin Dilan is a Brooklyn Democrat & co-chairman of the Legislative Advisory Task Force on Demographic Research & Reapportionment (studio). In other words, until the end of the month, he has some sway over how the legislature determines redistricting.
ARTICLE IIILegislature[Legislative power]Section 1. The legislative power of this state shall be vested in the senate and assembly.[Number and terms of senators and assemblymen]§2. The senate shall consist of fifty members,* except as hereinafter provided. The senators elected in the year one thousand eight hundred and ninety-five shall hold their offices for three years, and their successors shall be chosen for two years. The assembly shall consist of one hundred and fifty members. The assembly members elected in the year one thousand nine hundred and thirty-eight, and their successors, shall be chosen for two years. (Amended by vote
Currently, the United States Bureau of the Census includes everyone housed in federal, state, and local correctional facilities in its count of the general population in the Census “block” (population unit) containing the prison facility. The state's current reliance on the Census Bureau's prison count data when drawing legislative districts could violate federal law in two ways: it dilutes minority voting strength in possible violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965; and it violates the one person, one vote principle of the 14th Amendment’s Equal protection Clause, which requires voting districts to have equal numbers of residents.
The Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment was established by Chapter 45 of the New York State Laws of 1978 to research and study the techniques and methodologies used by the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of the Census in carrying out the decennial federal census. The Task Force aids the Legislature by maintaining computer systems, developing databases, conducting hearings and developing Senate, Assembly and Congressional redistricting plans. LATFOR also conducts research projects relating to the collection and use of census data and other statistical information. The Task Force consists of six members, including four legislators and two non-legislators.
Various state and local jurisdictions, in an effort to reform redistricting and to make it more accountable, have been considering new goals, methods and criteria that would result in a more transparent redistricting process and one that uses honest and objective criteria. While several states have pursued redistricting reform via the legislative process, others have considered independent commissions. California’s new commission is one major example of a recent reform.Goals and criteria being considered include:
Senator Dilan is committed to a fair, objective and transparent 2011-2012 legislative redistricting process. Procedures are being considered to advance the goals of a legislative redistricting plan incorporating clearly stated goals and criteria.
Senator Martin Malave Dilan, Co-Chair of the Legislative Advisory Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR) will convene a public meeting on Tuesday, December 16, 2010 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Van Buren Hearing Room A in the Legislative Office Building, Albany, NY. to hear comments and recommendations on proposed goals and criteria for legislative redistricting.
Senator Dilan will be joined at the hearing by Dr. John Flateau, a non-legislative member of the Task Force.Testimony by invitation only. Public comment if time permits.