State lawmakers' penchant for procrastination could leave up to the courts key decisions governing the 2012 elections.
In the coming months, the Legislature has to confront two vexing issues: redistricting and changes to the start of the election cycle to comply with federal law. However, lawmakers have yet to act on either one individually, and a convergence of the two will make it even more difficult to resolve either in the coming weeks.
Gotham Gazette wrote about ReShape NY's Lobby Day event to push for redistricting, which Senator Gianaris attended. Senator Gianaris said, "Promises were made and it is time those promises were kept. Now is the time to discover who is a genuine Hero of Reform and who was just spouting empty campaign rhetoric."
The Legislative Gazette wrote an article about redistricting reform and the fact that a majority of New Yorkers support a nonpartisan redistricting process.
A Quinnipiac University poll released last Thursday indicates a majority of New Yorkers think creating a nonpartisan redistricting process for drawing state Senate, Assembly and Congressional lines is important, and those who have fought in Albany for years to achieve that end think it is closer than ever. However, a possible early primary next year could mean reform would have to be passed sooner, rather than later, to make a difference in the 2012 redistricting process.
Politics on the Hudson wrote about the need for the Legislature to return to session to approve independent redistricting, in light of the first public meeting of the Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR).
Remember independent redistricting?
After Gov. Andrew Cuomo scored legislative victories last month, there’s one glaring piece of unfinished piece: establishing an independent panel to draw district lines in 2012. Cuomo wants it done, but Senate Republicans balked and they left town without considering it.
But the issue will take center stage today when the Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR) holds its first public meeting this morning in Albany.
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.
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle editorialized the importance of creating an independent redistricting commisssion so that district lines will be redrawn in a nonpartisan fashion.
For what it's worth, the New York Legislature's traveling committee on redistricting was in Rochester this week to gather public input on redrawing boundary lines for state legislative and congressional districts.
Though the four-member panel is bipartisan, includes two citizens, and is said to be committed to transparency, it was hard to take seriously. Its members, after all, were doing work that should be done by a panel independent of the legislative process.
Senator Gianaris has challenged Senator DeFrancisco to a debate on redistricting to take place live on WSYR's The Jim Reith Show. Senator Gianaris is hoping for an open, honest debate on the issue. Capitol Confidential wrote about the challenge:
This should be lively: it looks like Democratic Sen. Mike Gianaris of Queens and Syracuse Republican John DeFrancisco will debate redistricting with Syracuse talk show host Jim Reith on Newsradio 570 in the near future.
Here is the interchange of letters today, triggered by Gianaris’s interview last night on Reith’s radio show, which prompted DeFrancisco to call in.
Syracuse Post-Standard wrote about the joint-interview/debate Senator Gianaris and Senator DeFrancisco will participate in this afternoon on The Jim Reith Show.
Syracuse -- Two New York Senators are scheduled to talk about legislative redistricting Wednesday on The Jim Reith Show on WSYR radio.
Sen. John DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse, has been critical of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal to create an independent commission to redraw state and congressional political boundaries, questioning whether such a commission could be independent of political influences.