Fight Over Legislative Lines Continues

This week, members of the State Legislature released a second and final draft of proposed redistricting lines that looked remarkably similar to their last draft.

State Senator Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) blasted them for being 98 percent the same as the previous draft, which he has called the most gerrymandered in New York’s history.

It’s uncertain if Gov. Andrew Cuomo will let the maps stand if they are passed by the Legislature.

He threatened to veto the first set of maps. The second set, however, he’s been more lenient toward on the condition that they’re tied to an amendment reforming the redistricting process for 2020.

The Senate and Assembly have worked up an amendment that requires the Legislature to appoint a panel to redraw the 2020 lines, but not everyone is happy with it.

State Senator Joe Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) said he planned on voting against the lines and the reform amendment.

“The process is flawed,” he said. “We’re kicking the can down the road 10 years from now when we should be doing it now.”

Addabbo also objected to the lines carving up neighborhoods in his district.

“Taking parts of Woodhaven, Ozone Park and Ridgewood, it doesn’t help. It’s not good for the communities,” he said.
But at this point, the Legislature may be running out of options.

A judicial panel already took it upon itself to redraw New York’s congressional lines when the Legislature couldn’t, and
Addabbo thinks that’s where the legislative lines will be worked out too—despite his distaste for the prospect.

“It wasn’t for the courts to do, although I still believe that’s where we’re headed for the State Legislature,” he said.

The Legislature was expected to vote on the lines on Wednesday, March 14, but there was no update as of press time.

The judicial panel has asked for an update from the Legislature by Thursday, March 15.

By Jeremiah Dobruck


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