|Summary of Current Action
In 2010, in addition to testifying at LATFOR hearings statewide, the League participated in a broad campaign, ReShapeNY, calling for a better redistricting process for New York. Many Leagues held public forums highlighting the need for reform using the materials the state League provided in the fall of 2010. This followed years of the League advocating for a constitutional amendment setting forth permanent and fair guidelines and establishing an independent commission to draw lines free of partisan gerrymandering. We have long felt that the pen that draws legislative lines needs to be.
The first set of state legislative lines for the 2012 election was released by the Legislature in January 2012 and we criticized those lines as partisan and gerrymandered, as did our good government colleagues and many others, and we called for both improving the lines and implementing lasting structural reform to a fundamentally flawed process. It became obvious that the redistricting process in New York was broken. The courts again stepped in as they had in past decades of Congressional redistricting.
The League called for the Governor to use his veto threat, and the power it gives him to negotiate with the Legislature, to not only improve the 2012 lines but also to achieve certain and permanent structural reform to the redistricting process. Permanent structural reform can only be achieved through a constitutional amendment but momentum for this has typically diminished greatly in the years following each redistricting battle. The League felt that 2012 was a unique opportunity for reform in light of the unprecedented campaign that has been waged by many different groups, including those allied with us in ReShapeNY, to hold legislators to their pledge to enact redistricting reform and Governor Cuomo's insistence that the status quo could not stand. The League supported the successful first passage of a constitutional amendment in 2012 and an accompanying statute, creating structural reform that permanently takes the redistricting pen away from the legislature and provides the voter with the power to choose their elective representatives. While not perfect, we felt that the constitutional amendment would provide a significant improvement on the LATFOR status quo. Certainty was added to the process by coupling first passage of a constitutional amendment with an accompanying statute, ensuring reform even if the amendment does not achieve the second legislative passage necessary to go on the ballot.