Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to push for an independent redistricting commission. It's an effort that put him at odds with the legislature as hearings on the subject begin at the Capitol. Our Nick Reisman has more on this standoff that's showing no signs of easing any time soon.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Despite Gov. Andrew Cuomo's vow to veto new boundaries for state and federal offices drawn by legislators, lawmakers said Wednesday there's no time to create an independent commission, citing an earlier primary date and deadlines set by the U.S. Justice Department.
"We've long since run out of time for that process to unfold. We believe there will be a bipartisan redistricting process established. We look towards establishing the most open and transparent process possible with using available technology to expand citizen participation," said Senator Michael Nozzolio.
Boundaries for state legislative and congressional districts must be redrawn every 10 years based on the most recent Census data. Good-government groups say districts are often drawn to favor incumbent parties. The Senate approved a constitutional amendment to form an independent panel, but that would be in effect until 2022. Dick Dadey of Citizens Union rejects the claim that there isn't enough time to change the process this year .
"I disagree there's no time, there's plenty of time. There is at least nine months before the plan needs to be adopted and that time allows for the creation of an independent redistricting commission," Dadey said.
Assemblyman Jack McEneny of Albany, meanwhile, called Cuomo's promise to veto the lines petty and said he should wait to see the final boundaries before making a judgment.
"That would be a dumb reason to veto it. He should judge it on the quality of the product," said McEneny.
Speaking at a tax cap event in Onondaga County, Cuomo reiterated his veto threat, saying voters support an independent process.
"I understand the assemblyman's point that he wants to draw his own lines. And everyone, you know, wants to draw their own lines defining their districts. I want to have lines drawn that represent the people of the state of New York," the governor said.
Complicating the process is the new law requiring prisoners be counted as residents of their last known address, not where they're incarcerated. The law is being challenged by some Senate Republicans who would lose population in their upstate districts where there are many prisons. For now, lawmakers are counting prisoners under the old system. The new lines must be in place by March of next year, ahead of the 2012 elections.