Judge kicks off New York’s new political wards

Hello. It’s Friday. We’ll look at the latest twist on redistricting in New York. We will also be catching up with the state budget in Albany, which is about to be officially behind.

The ruling surprised even some Republicans: A judge declared the new legislative maps of New York unconstitutional, saying the Democratic-led map-drawing process had been irrevocably tainted.

Steuben County Supreme Court Judge Patrick McAllister’s ruling, above, barred the cards from being used in this year’s election, potentially throwing the congressional midterm contests into turmoil Candidates have already started campaigning in the new districts for the primaries, scheduled for June 28. McAllister also invalidated the cards for the Assembly and State Senate.

The judge, a Republican, said the new congressional cards violated New York’s new ban on partisan gerrymandering – essentially accusing Democrats of the same tactics they complained about when Republicans used them in red states. “The court finds evidence clear and beyond a reasonable doubt that the map of Congress was unconstitutionally drawn with political bias,” McAllister wrote in his 18-page opinion. The New York Congressional maps favor Democrats in 22 of the 26 new districts.

McAllister has given the Democratic-led Legislature until April 11 to prepare new “bipartisan-backed maps” for Congress, the Senate and the state Assembly. He said he would appoint an independent special master to draw the lines if lawmakers failed to do so, raising the possibility that the party’s June primaries could be delayed.

Governor Kathy Hochul and Letitia James, the state’s attorney general, together released a statement saying they intended to appeal. My colleague Nicholas Fandos writes that such a move would potentially suspend McAllister’s decision and could allow this year’s election to be held using the constituencies adopted in February.

“It’s a step in the process,” said Michael Murphy, spokesman for the state Senate Democrats. “We always knew that this case would be decided by the courts of appeal.”

Democrats could challenge the decision in the Supreme Court’s Appeals Division or the State Court of Appeals – New York’s highest court. Both courts are expected to be more Democratic-friendly than Steuben County, which borders Pennsylvania. It is home to Corning Inc., the glass manufacturer.

“Plaintiffs got what they wanted by going to Steuben County Court,” said Jeffrey Wice, assistant professor at the Census and Redistricting Institute at New York Law School. “Whether they take their victory all the way to the State Court of Appeals is an uphill battle for them.”

Republicans welcomed the decision and expressed confidence that they would win on appeal. John Faso, a former congressman who serves as a spokesman for the Republican plaintiffs, called it a “total victory” for the petitioners, who were statewide voters. But the lawsuit was funded and overseen by Republicans in Washington and Albany who filed it shortly after Hochul signed the new cards.


Prepare for a chance of showers in the early afternoon, with temperatures steady in the mid 50s. The evening is partly cloudy with temperatures in the low 30s.

alternative parking

Valid until April 14 (Maundy Thursday).

As a journalist, I don’t like to think about blowing a deadline. But the state legislature just blew a big one. The state budget was supposed to be signed, sealed and delivered by midnight – or at least approved and possibly voted on.

But my colleagues Luis Ferré-Sadurni and Jesse McKinley write that the state Senate adjourned Thursday until Monday. The Assembly – which tends to be the slowest chamber – also gave hammer blows.

Governor Kathy Hochul released a statement offering an optimistic prognosis, even though her first budget is overdue. “We are getting closer to an agreement, with consensus on the main political elements,” she said. “New Yorkers should know that progress is being made.”

While the April 1 deadline is in the state constitution, the state comptroller’s office said no state scrutiny will be delayed unless a deal is delayed past 4 p.m. Monday.

Hochul, a Democrat, had proposed a budget of $216.3 billion in an effort to kick-start the state’s recovery from the pandemic. The legislature, controlled by its fellow Democrats, wanted to spend at least $6 billion more. They offered to pump more money into the State University of New York and the City University of New York – we’re unlikely to know how much until other problems arise. rules.

One such issue is reform of the state bail law, which the Legislative Assembly overhauled in 2019. Hochul, responding to a rise in crime in the era of the pandemic and may -Being Republicans’ success in attacking Democrats, called for making more crime categories eligible for bail. . She also suggested allowing judges to consider a defendant’s dangerousness when making bail decisions for those accused of serious crimes. Mayor Eric Adams supports the changes, but they have been met with resistance from progressives in the Senate and Assembly.

Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who heads the state Senate, flatly rejected the dangerousness provision on Thursday. “We’ve always been of the same mind,” she said. “We are not introducing dangerousness.”

It’s a sign that summer is approaching: the Department of Parks and Recreation is making a last ditch effort to recruit lifeguards for the city’s eight beaches and 53 outdoor pools.

Iris Rodriguez-Rosa, the first assistant parks commissioner, said finding enough qualified swimmers had been more difficult than before the pandemic. “It’s a national problem, trying to get lifeguards,” she said. “Because of Covid, there were fewer high schools that had swim teams competing. Swimmers missed practice time due to closed pools. They’re not in as good shape.

Lifeguards must register for a test, and there are requirements: they must be at least 16 years old and must pass a vision test (do not wear glasses or contact lenses). Crucially, there’s a swim test – lifeguards must be able to cover 50 yards in water in 35 seconds or less, displaying what the park service calls “proper form.” Those who pass will complete 40 hours of training to earn a minimum of $16 per hour.

Rodriguez-Rosa said she attended practice sessions in January. “I wish I could do 50 yards,” she said wistfully.

Dear Diary:

I was on a rooftop in Brooklyn looking down
and had a camera packed, I took it out
and loaded my last roll of black and white film.
standing patiently still.

saw an empty bird’s nest on a window sill.
I guess they have all learned to fly, I wish them luck.

saw a well-dressed woman putting mail in her purse
and a tricycle with a missing wheel in the dirt.

for what it’s worth:
a photograph is the only way to time travel backwards.

on the other side of the street,
what looked like a castle at first
was really just the back of the church.

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