Governor Andrew Cuomo is stating in no uncertain terms that he intends to veto the redistricting lines now being devised by a joint legislative commission, because they are not independent and non partisan.
Cuomo says he will not endorse the new district lines currently being drawn by a joint legislative commission.
“My position is I will veto the lines that are drawn, I believe it should be done by an independent commission”, said Cuomo.
The governor acknowledges that a veto would be “chaotic”, because it puts the process into the hands of a judge.
“And then it’s up to the judge,” said Cuomo.
Cuomo says the legislature should “seriously consider” joining him to create an independent commission.
The governor says he has no plans, though, to call the legislature back before January unless there’s agreement on a structure for the commission. But the governor says time is getting short.
“The clock is ticking”, said Cuomo.
The governor also says he doubts the legislature has the votes to override a veto on redistricting.
The Co-Chair of the Legislative Task Force on redistricting, Albany Assemblyman Jack McEneny, says the governor should give the committee a chance to do their work, first, then examine the results. To do otherwise, he says, “sets a bad precedent”.
McEneny says the legislature is only trying to fulfill its obligations under the state’s constitution. And he says Assembly Democrats have already backed Cuomo’s bill to create an independent commission.
Senate Republicans have not signed on to the measure.
Senator Michael Gianaris, a Democrat and redistricting reform advocate, says the governor is being consistent, by reissuing a veto threat that he’s been making all along. And he says Senate Democrats, who have 30 seats to the Republican’s 32 in the closely divided Senate, support the governor’s stance.
“I think the governor has made it very clear that if they insist on playing chicken the way they are that this is going to end up in the hands of the court,” said Gianariss. “Which will be much more fair than the Senate Majority will be.”
Senator Gianaris says he also thinks there is time for a resolution that will result in independently drawn lines. He says with all the new technology, the lines could be redrawn “in an afternoon”.
A spokesman for the Senate GOP, Scott Reif, says Republicans are “committed to a redistricting process that is bipartisan, open and fair”. And Reif says Republican Senators “look forward” to continuing discussions with the governor on redistricting.