Wednesday, March 9, 2011

GOP Senate Plan for redistrcing a 'stall tactic'

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Rockville Centre, is proposing redistricting reform be accomplished by passing a constitutional amendment that could not logistically be ratified until after the 2012 redistricting process is complete, instead of a bill that could be enacted immediately.

Former New York City Mayor Edward Koch, the founder of New York Uprising, is pushing for the passage of the governor's program bill (A.5388/S.3419) which would reform New York's decennial redistricting process by having an independent commission redraw district lines instead of the Legislature. The plan is part of an effort to eliminate the drawing of legislative district lines — Senate, Assembly and congressional districts — to benefit a particular candidate or political party.

"For decades, we have been suffering under the crushing weight of a dysfunctional political system where redistricting has been done to protect incumbent politicians and political parties in power. We think that gerrymandering is a perversion of democracy and creates fixed fights where the outcome is predetermined before the first round even begins," said Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, D-Brooklyn, who sponsored a redistricting bill earlier this session, but is backing Cuomo's plan now.

Koch and New York Uprising authored the "heroes of reform" pledge that was signed by 84 sitting Assembly members and 54 senators, including Skelos, who promised to pass redistricting and ethics reforms.

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