ALBANY, N.Y.—Independent redistricting reform legislation sponsored by Senator David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) was approved by the State Senate Elections Committee today without opposition.
Today’s vote represents another milestone--versions of independent redistricting plans have been introduced in the Senate and Assembly in the past five years, but did not advance through any committee.
“I am pleased that the concept of independent redistricting is receiving bipartisan support, and am encouraged that it was passed by the Elections Committee. I look forward to working with my colleagues to continue the process and put this legislation to a vote before the full Senate.”
Senate bill S.1614B establishes a citizen reapportionment commission, comprised of people who are not public officials or their relatives, lobbyists, political party officeholders. This independent commission would propose district boundaries for congressional and state legislative districts and submit them to the Legislature for approval, in accordance with the State Constitution. The process would eliminate the practice of partisan gerrymandering of New York State Congressional, State Senate, and State Assembly districts, giving residents a clear voice in their representation.
The legislation is supported by the leading good government organizations and reform advocates in New York, including former New York City Mayor Edward Koch.
The legislation will now be reported to the Senate Finance Committee.
As the bill has moved through two critical committees, Senator Valesky has launched an online petition on his website at www.valesky.nysenate.gov. At the site, citizens and supporters of the legislation can sign up to encourage the full Legislature to pass the measure.
“The public response to the concept of independent redistricting has been very positive,” Senator Valesky said. “I encourage everyone who supports this bill to sign the petition, and send a message to the Legislature that now is the time for this reform.”
For the full text of the bill, visit http://www.nysenate.gov/legislation.