The bill is expected to pass, but not without some grumbling from Senate Democrats. They — along with several good government groups including Common Cause and NYPIRG — say the new panel that will be created for redistricting is actually worse than the current system, where Senate Republicans and Assembly Democrats dominate the special legislative task force, LATFOR, charged with drawing the new lines. Other good government groups, like Citizens Union, say this is an improvement.
Under the amendment, LATFOR will be replaced by a 10-member commission that I’ll call son-of-LATFOR. Each legislative conference would appoint two members, and those eight members would have to agree on the remaining two members. Seven members are required to advance a redistricting plan.
BUT WAIT, you say. This is a POST-PARTISAN-DREAM-WORLD Albany where “Skleinos” and “majority coalition” have entered the lexicon of the state Senate. Indeed, according to the new Senate rules, there are now THREE conferences, instead of two. Theoretically, it would be easy enough to discern who the majority and minority conference leaders are when it comes time to flesh out this son-of-LATFOR, but maybe not.
Another wrinkle: the son-of-LATFOR has different voting requirements depending on the partisan composition of the Legislature. If the Assembly speaker and Senate temporary president are from the same party, then a member of each legislative conference must vote to advance the plan. If they’re from opposite parties, then the seven-member bloc need only include one member appointed by each.
BUT WAIT, you say. In POST-PARTISAN-DREAM-WORLD Albany, we have a new temporary president of the Senate EACH DAY.
Fear not, my children. We’ve still got nine years to fight over this, and I’m sure that Gov. Mike Gianaris, Senate Majority Leader Greg Ball and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will come up with something in 2022.
UPDATE: Gianaris, the deputy Democratic leader, asked Republican Sen. Mike Nozzolio several of these questions.
“That is a question of law that would be answered by the attorneys and the courts at that time,” Nozzolio answered.
Moving on. If you can think back to the late-night session in 2012 when this bill was first passed by the state Senate, you might remember that Democrats (excepting Daniel Squadron) walked out of the chamber. The bill passed with the votes of the majority Republicans and then-four-member Independent Democratic Conference.
Some Democrats are planning to vote no, but others — who were put on record by Citizens Union during an endorsement questionnaire — will probably vote yes.
“I expect I will vote against it and I expect most of my conference will vote against it,” said Sen. Neil Breslin. “I don’t think there is sufficient independence. I would want a totally independent body making determinations of the districts of the states.” FULL POST
Here’s Citizen’s Union’s list of questionnaire respondents:
|Senate District Number||Legislator Name||Citizens Union 2012 Questionnaire Response: What is your position on second passage of the redistricting constitutional amendment?||Senate Rules Committee 1/14/2013 Vote on A.2086/ S.2107 of 2013 (Note: those who are not members of the Rules Committee are labeled N/A)|
|SD 10||James Sanders, Jr.||Support||N/A|
|SD 11||Tony Avella||Support||N/A|
|SD 14||Malcolm Smith||No Response Provided||N/A|
|SD 15||Joseph Addabbo, Jr.||Support||N/A|
|SD 16||Toby Ann Stavisky||Oppose (Note that in her interview with Citizens Union, Senator Stavisky stated she would vote in favor of the legislation.)||N/A|
|SD 18||Martin Dilan||Support||Nay|
|SD 20||Eric Adams||Support||N/A|
|SD 22||Martin Golden||Support||N/A|
|SD 23||Diane Savino||Support||N/A|
|SD 27||Brad Hoylman||Support||N/A|
|SD 28||Liz Krueger||Oppose||Nay|
|SD 29||Jose Serrano||Support||N/A|
|SD 31||Adriano Espaillat||Support||Aye Without Recommendation|
|SD 33||J. Gustavo Rivera||Support||N/A|
|SD 53||David Valesky||Support||Aye|