Bill S7882A-2009

Establishes a legislative advisory commission on redistricting and demographic research

Establishes a legislative advisory commission on redistricting and demographic research to draw senate, assembly and congressional districts.

Details

Actions

  • Jun 8, 2010: REPORTED AND COMMITTED TO FINANCE
  • Jun 2, 2010: REPORTED AND COMMITTED TO ELECTIONS
  • May 27, 2010: COMMITTEE DISCHARGED AND COMMITTED TO INVESTIGATIONS AND GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
  • May 24, 2010: PRINT NUMBER 7882A
  • May 24, 2010: AMEND (T) AND RECOMMIT TO ELECTIONS
  • May 20, 2010: COMMITTEE DISCHARGED AND COMMITTED TO ELECTIONS
  • May 19, 2010: REFERRED TO FINANCE

Votes

VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Investigations and Government Operations - Jun 2, 2010
Ayes (3): Diaz, Klein, Espada
Ayes W/R (2): Johnson C, Stachowski
Nays (3): Winner, Golden, Nozzolio
VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Elections - Jun 8, 2010
Ayes (2): Dilan, Foley
Ayes W/R (3): Addabbo, Serrano, Griffo
Nays (1): Libous
Excused (1): Morahan

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S7882A

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the legislative law, in relation to establishing the legislative advisory commission on redistricting and demographic research

PURPOSE: New York's present redistricting system has permitted the legislature to redraw legislative districts disregarding the public's need for fair representation and responsive government. This legislation provides for a practical and realistic framework for redistricting reform by amending current law and changing the role of the Legislative Advisory Task Force on Reapportionment and Demographic Research into a Legislative Advisory Commission on Redistricting and Demographic Research comprised of non-legislators selected by legislative leadership and a chair to be selected by the other members (consistent with the State Constitution's requirement that the legislature enact districting legislation). The legislation also requires that the commission use objective and strict criteria that both follows state constitutional mandates and minimizes opportunities for so-called partisan gerrymandering. The legislation also requires outreach efforts for broad public participation and input.

The legislation includes a timetable so that New York can have new legislative districts in place for 2012 elections without disruption and with adequate review time for federal approval required by the Voting Rights Act.

Modeled after recommendations made by the New York City Bar Association for a constitutional amendment creating a similar commission by constitutional amendment and using the same basic criteria, this legislation creates an independent commission while also reserving all plan approval with the Legislature, as required by the State Constitution.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1(a) creates an advisory commission on redistricting to draw senate, assembly and congressional districts. The commission would have nine members, with each of the four legislative leaders appointing two members for a term of ten years beginning April 1 of the year before the census is taken. The ninth member and chair shall be selected by a vote of at least six of the other eight members, including one from each appointing authority.

Subsection (b) The districts shall be developed by a vote of at least five members and submitted to the legislature for a vote. The commission must establish senate and assembly districts by January 3 1, 2012 and congressional districts must be established by March 31, 2012. The commission must issue a report on how the plan complies with the criteria set out in the bill and must issue multiple reports if a majority cannot be reached on the plans. If the legislature fails to adopt the plan, the commission shall revise the plan and return all recommendations to the legislature. All votes shall be

taken at public meetings/hearings. Commission shall promote public participation, and hold public hearings and allow adequate time for public comment/submission of proposals.

Subsection (c) Allows for the appropriations of expenses necessary for such commission.

Subsection (d) Provides that staff can be hired and contracts entered as well as other requirements relating to data collection and hearings. All expert authorized by this section and data collected from the public shall be made available to the public.

Subsection (e) provides for expenses of actual and necessary expenses of Members.

Subsection (f) provides that surveys, data and other tabulations may be sold to both public and non-public entities.

Subsection (g) provides that any monies received by the commission for sales authorized in subsection (f) be properly credited according to the state finance laws.

Subsection (h) and (i) authorize the chair to complete and execute contracts and to carry out other responsibilities.

Subsection (j) authorizes the commission to hold hearings and to have all powers of a legislative committee.

Subsection (k) authorizes the chair of the commission to request certain data to enable the commission to carry out its powers and duties.

Subsection (l) provides that employees of the commission to be considered as state legislative employees.

Section 2: Criteria to be followed

(a) legislative districts shall be as nearly equal in population as practicable and shall have a deviation that does not exceed ten percent of the mean population of all districts

(b) Congressional districts shall be as nearly equal in population as practicable

(c) districts shall contain contiguous territory

(d) no person shall be deemed to gain or lose a residence by reason of conviction/incarceration

(e) must give equal representation to racial and language minority groups

(f) criteria hierarchy to be followed:

(i) to the extent possible, counties shall not be divided in the formation of districts

(ii) to the extent possible, county subdivisions shall not be divided in the formation of districts except to create districts wholly within a subdivision

(iii) if a town must be divided, where possible, incorporated villages shall not be divided

(iv) districts shall be as compact in form as possible

(v) unite communities of interest

(vi) two or more incumbent members shall not be placed in the same district

EXISTING LAW: Section 83(m) of the legislative law is amended to replace the current advisory task force on reapportionment, currently comprised of four legislators and two non-legislators.

JUSTIFICATION: This legislation is designed to make New York's redistricting process more fair, transparent and objective. The last state senate redistricting resulted in a greater number of grossly under populated districts in upstate regions of the state and fewer districts through overpopulation in downstate areas. Districts were created neglecting common sense standards of contiguity and compactness. Communities of interest and common purpose were often ignored, tearing neighborhoods apart. Traditional redistricting criteria was simply ignored.

Fewer opportunities were available for Hispanics, African Americans and Caribbean American communities to elect their candidates of choice.

This legislation address the core issues of how districts should be created and who should create them. While keeping the responsibility within the legislature as required by the state constitution, the legislation expands on the role of the Legislative Advisory Commission on Demographic Research and Reapportiomnent by changing the name and membership. Eight new non-legislator commission members would be appointed by the four legislative leaders (two each by the Speaker, Senate President Pro Tempore and senate and assembly minority leaders. The eight appointees would select another non-legislator to serve as chair. The commission would develop and recommend plans for senate, assembly, and congressional districts to the legislature for enactment based on a majority vote. . The commission would also address changes to plans rejected by the legislature for resubmission to the legislature.

Timely deadlines are provided for plan enactments permitting adequate time for either US Justice Department or DC federal court approval (for Bronx, New York and Kings counties) and the orderly election administration.

The commission would be required to work with strict criteria limiting partisan advantages and abuses common to recent redistricting efforts.

Districts would have to be drawn adhering to minimal population deviations, thereby preventing regional favoritism and partisan advantage while at the same time providing enough flexibility to comply with federal Voting Rights Act Sections 5 and Section 2 requirements.

Other major criteria limit contiguity problems by requiring that districts remain accessible within districts and minimizing connections by water.. Communities of interest are defined to enable proper identification of New Yorkers when creating districts.

Districts would be required to be compactly drawn, measured against standards used by the courts when reviewing redistricting plans.

Partisan favoritism would be heavily eliminated by unnecessarily pairing legislators into the same district, a technique often employed by the majority party against the minority party.

The legislation also addresses a long standing civil rights issue regarding the counting of prisoners for redistricting purposes. Prisoners incarcerated in state institutions would be counted at their "home of record" for senate and assembly redistricting.

Thirty years ago, New York was at the forefront of redistricting reform by creating LA TFOR as a mechanism to redraw districts in a new and fairer way than the 1960s and 1970s post Baker v. Carr decision rounds permitted.

This new legislation will move New York even further into a more open., fair and transparent process with strong criteria and greater public involvement, through additional non-legislator members and public participation.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7882--A IN SENATE May 19, 2010 ___________
Introduced by Sens. DILAN, SAMPSON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Finance -- committee discharged and said bill committed to the Committee on Elections -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the legislative law, in relation to establishing the legislative advisory commission on redistricting and demographic research THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 83-m of the legislative law, as added by chapter 141 of the laws of 1994, is amended to read as follows: S 83-m. Legislative [task force on demographic research and reappor- tionment] ADVISORY COMMISSION ON REDISTRICTING AND DEMOGRAPHIC RESEARCH. [1.] The legislature hereby finds and declares that: (a) there is a need for intensive and thorough legislative study, research and inquiry into the techniques and methodology to be used by the bureau of the census of the United States commerce department in carrying out the decennial federal census; (b) a technical plan will be needed to meet the require- ments of a legislative timetable for a [reapportionment] REDISTRICTING of the senate and assembly districts and the congressional districts of the state based on such census; and (c) the [task force] COMMISSION herein continued is necessary to assist the legislature in the perform- ance of its responsibilities and in the conduct of legislative research projects relating thereto. [2. The legislative task force on demographic research and reappor- tionment is hereby continued, consisting of six members of whom two shall be appointed by the temporary president of the senate, two by the speaker of the assembly and one each by the minority leader of the senate and the minority leader of the assembly. The appointments shall be of members of the respective houses of the legislature, except that one member appointed by the temporary president of the senate and one member appointed by the speaker of the assembly shall not be members of the legislature. A member of the senate appointed to the task force by
the temporary president of the senate and a member of the assembly appointed to the task force by the speaker of the assembly shall be designated by each to serve as the co-chairmen of the task force. Each member of the task force who is not a member of the legislature shall be entitled to receive actual and necessary expenses incurred in the discharge of his duties and shall be entitled to compensation as deter- mined by the co-chairmen within the appropriations available therefor, except that such member, who is serving in such capacity in a transient, occasional and incidental manner, shall not be entitled to receive more than the actual and necessary expenses incurred in the discharge of his duties. 3. The task force shall engage in such research studies and other activities as its co-chairmen may deem necessary or appropriate in the preparation and formulation of a reapportionment plan for the next ensu- ing reapportionment of senate and assembly districts and congressional districts of the state and in the utilization of census and other demo- graphic and statistical data for policy analysis, program development and program evaluation purposes for the legislature. 4. The co-chairmen of the task force may employ such personnel, experts and consultants as may be necessary for the performance of its work and shall fix their compensation within the amounts appropriated therefor. 5. The primary function of the task force shall be to compile and analyze data, conduct research for and make reports and recommendations to the legislature, legislative commissions and other legislative task forces. 6. The task force, with the approval of its co-chairmen and subject to guidelines submitted by the co-chairmen and approved by the temporary president of the senate and speaker of the assembly, may sell surveys, data, copies of tabulations and other special statistical compilations and materials to departments, agencies and other entities of federal, state or local government, of foreign countries, and to public benefit corporations, or other public, not-for-profit and private persons and agencies, upon payment of fees at least sufficient to pay the actual or estimated cost of such projects. In furtherance of such sale, the task force, with the approval of its co-chairmen, may execute contracts for such purpose. Any contract executed heretofore by the task force or the advisory task force on reapportionment, without express statutory authorization, of a nature similar in import as the contract for sale herein authorized is hereby validated, ratified and confirmed as an exercise of the inherent power of such task force or such advisory task force to execute such contract. The co-chairmen shall take such action as shall be necessary to assure that any survey, data, tabulation, special statistical compilation or material made available for sale shall not identify the name of any corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, proprietorship, society, joint stock company, indi- vidual, or other organization or entity. 7. Moneys heretofore or hereafter received by or on behalf of the legislative task force on demographic research and reapportionment from the sale of surveys, data, copies of tabulations and other special statistical compilations and materials available to such task force shall be deposited to the credit of the legislative computer services fund established by section ninety-seven-uu of the state finance law. The moneys hereby credited to such fund may be made available for the legislative task force on demographic research and reapportionment and shall, when made available, be payable out of the state treasury on the
audit and warrant of the comptroller in the manner provided by section ninety-seven-uu of the state finance law. 8. The co-chairmen of the task force are hereby authorized and empowered to make and sign any agreements in the name and on behalf of the task force and to do and perform any acts that may be necessary, desirable or proper to carry out the powers, purposes and objectives of the task force and the provisions thereof. 9. The task force, with the approval of its co-chairmen, may complete any contract executed and conduct any business undertaken or commenced by the legislature or the advisory task force on reapportionment pertaining to or connected with the reapportionment and readjustment or alteration of senate and assembly and congressional districts prior to the enactment of these provisions into law, and the same shall be completed and conducted in the same manner and under the same terms and conditions and with the same effect as if completed and conducted by the legislature or such advisory task force. 10. The task force may hold public and private hearings and otherwise have all of the powers of a legislative committee under this chapter. 11. The co-chairmen of the task force may request and receive from any court, department, division, board, bureau, commission or agency of the state or any political subdivision thereof such assistance and data as will enable the task force to properly carry out its powers and duties hereunder. 12. Employees of the task force shall be considered to be employees of the legislature for all purposes.]
S 2. Legislative advisory commission on redistricting and demographic research. a. There shall be a legislative advisory commission on redis- tricting and demographic research (the "commission") to draw senate, assembly and congressional districts, so that all the people of New York may be fairly represented. The commission shall consist of nine members. No person shall be a member of the commission who is not a registered voter in the state of New York, and who has not been, at the time of appointment, a resident of the state of New York for five years. No member of the senate or assembly, no member of congress, and no person holding judicial office, shall be a member of the districting commis- sion. The temporary president of the senate, the minority leader of the senate, the speaker of the assembly, and the minority leader of the assembly shall each appoint two members for a term of ten years commenc- ing on the first day of April of the year preceding the year in which the federal decennial census is taken, except that, if this act shall become effective after such date, the terms of the members shall commence as soon as possible. If a seat on the commission shall fall vacant, the officer of the legislature who appointed the original member shall appoint a member to complete the unexpired term; except that, if more than two members appointed by the officers of either house would then have been appointed by an officer of the same party, then the other officer of the same house shall appoint a member to fill the vacancy. The ninth member, who shall be the chair of the commission, shall be appointed by a vote of at least six of the other eight members, includ- ing at least one appointed by each appointing authority, to a term that shall expire at the same time as the terms of the other members. b. The senate, assembly, and congressional districts shall be devel- oped by a vote of at least five members of the commission, including the affirmative vote of the chair of the commission. The plans of senate, assembly, and congressional districts developed by the commission shall be submitted to the legislature for enactment. The senate and assembly
districts shall be enacted into law no later than the last day of Janu- ary of the second year following the year in which the federal decennial census is taken. The commission shall issue a report explaining how the districts comply with the requirements of section three of this act. Congressional districts shall be enacted into law no later than the last day of March of the second year following the year in which the federal decennial census is taken. The commission shall at that time issue a report explaining how the districts comply with the requirements of section three of this act. The commission shall meet and make remedial adjustments to plans for congressional, assembly and senate districts should the legislature fail to adopt the commission's plan. Any such revised plans shall be submitted to the legislature for proper consider- ation. Such districts shall become effective for the next ensuing gener- al election of senators, assembly members, and members of congress. The senate, assembly and congressional districts shall remain unaltered until after the subsequent federal decennial census, except that, if an alteration of such districts shall be ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction, or if such districts shall be prevented from taking effect pursuant to this act or to any provision of the constitution and laws of the United States, the commission shall recommend necessary alterations to the legislature to provide a remedy. All votes of the commission shall be taken at public meetings, and the commission shall cause tran- scripts of all meetings and hearings, including all testimony submitted in writing, to be made publicly available. The commission shall promote informed public understanding of, and participation in, the process of redistricting, by such means as providing information to the public, holding hearings and adequate public comment before and after each plan is developed, and encouraging submission of proposals. c. The legislature shall make necessary appropriations for the expenses of the commission, provide for compensation and reimbursement of expenses for the members and staff of the commission, assign to the commission any additional duties that the legislature may deem necessary to the performance of the duties stipulated in this act, and require other agencies and officials of the state of New York and its political subdivisions to provide such information and assistance as the commis- sion may require to perform its duties. d. Subject to such reasonable regulations as the legislature shall promulgate, the commission shall, with the approval of the temporary president of the senate, minority leader of the senate, the speaker of the assembly and the minority leader of the assembly as may be necessary to perform its duties, hire staff, enter into contracts, conduct research, hold hearings, and communicate with the public; shall assemble and maintain such geographic, demographic, election and voter registra- tion data as may be necessary for the analysis and evaluation of proposed and established plans of senate, assembly, and congressional districts, including, but not limited to, the compliance of such plans with the provisions of this act and with the constitution and laws of the United States; and shall cause all such data, and all expert reports, results of any other research conducted under a contract entered into by the commission, and proposals for districts submitted by the public, to be made publicly available. e. Each member of the commission shall be entitled to receive actual and necessary expenses incurred in the discharge of his duties and shall be entitled to compensation as determined by the chair within the appro- priations available therefor.
f. The commission, with the approval of its chair and subject to guidelines submitted by the chair and approved by the temporary presi- dent of the senate and speaker of the assembly, may sell surveys, data, copies of tabulations and other special statistical compilations and materials to departments, agencies and other entities of federal, state or local government, of foreign countries, and to public benefit corpo- rations, or other public, not-for-profit and private persons and agen- cies, upon payment of fees at least sufficient to pay the actual or estimated cost of such projects. In furtherance of such sale, the commission, with the approval of its chair, may execute contracts for such purpose. Any contract executed heretofore by the commission, with- out express statutory authorization, of a nature similar in import as the contract for sale herein authorized is hereby validated, ratified and confirmed as an exercise of the inherent power of such commission to execute such contract. The chair shall take such action as shall be necessary to assure that any survey, data, tabulation, special statis- tical compilation or material made available for sale shall not identify the name of any corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, proprietorship, society, joint stock company, individual, or other organization or entity. g. Moneys heretofore or hereafter received by or on behalf of the commission from the sale of surveys, data, copies of tabulations and other special statistical compilations and materials available to such commission shall be deposited to the credit of the legislative computer services fund established by section 97-uu of the state finance law. The moneys hereby credited to such fund may be made available for the commission and shall, when made available, be payable out of the state treasury on the audit and warrant of the comptroller in the manner provided by section 97-uu of the state finance law. h. The chair of the commission is hereby authorized and empowered to make and sign any agreements in the name and on behalf of the commission and to do and perform any acts that may be necessary, desirable or prop- er to carry out the powers, purposes and objectives of the commission and the provisions thereof. i. The commission, with the approval of its chair, may complete any contract executed and conduct any business undertaken or commenced by the commission pertaining to or connected with the redistricting and readjustment or alteration of senate and assembly and congressional districts prior to the enactment of these provisions into law, and the same shall be completed and conducted in the same manner and under the same terms and conditions and with the same effect as if completed and conducted by the legislature or such commission. j. The commission may hold public and private hearings and otherwise have all of the powers of a legislative committee under this chapter. k. The chair of the commission may request and receive from any court, department, division, board, bureau, commission or agency of the state or any political subdivision thereof such assistance and data as will enable the commission to properly carry out its powers and duties hereunder. l. Employees of the commission shall be considered to be employees of the legislature for all purposes. S 3. Criteria to be followed. a. All districts of a house of the legislature shall be as nearly equal in population as is practical, except as necessary to satisfy the requirements of subdivisions c, e, and f of this section, but the difference in population between the most and least populous senate districts shall not exceed ten percent of the
mean population of all senate districts, and the difference in popu- lation between the most and least populous assembly districts shall not exceed ten percent of the mean population of all assembly districts. For any contiguous group of senate or assembly districts, the percentage of the total number of such districts contained within such group, and the percentage of the total population of the state contained within such group, both expressed as two-digit numbers followed by two-digit deci- mals, shall not differ by an amount greater than 0.50. The populations of any two senate or assembly districts adjoining within a county subdi- vision, or, in a city with a population of one million or more, within a county, shall not differ by an amount greater than two percent of the mean population of such two districts. b. All congressional districts shall be as nearly equal in population as is practicable. c. Each district shall consist of contiguous territory; no district shall consist of parts entirely separated by the territory of another district of the same body, whether such territory be land or water, populated or unpopulated. A populated census block shall not be divided by a district boundary, unless it can be determined that the populated part of such block is within a single district. d. The whole number of persons reported in the federal decennial census shall be the basis for determining populations for the purposes of this act, except that, for the purpose of determining the populations of senate and assembly districts, no person shall be deemed to have gained or lost a residence by reason of conviction and incarceration in a federal or state correctional facility. e. Senate, assembly, or congressional districts shall not be estab- lished that result in a denial to members of racial and linguistic minority groups of an equal opportunity with other citizens to partic- ipate in the political process and to elect the representatives of their choice. The principles stated in subdivision f of this section shall be used to create districts that will afford fair representation to the members of those racial and linguistic minority groups who are suffi- ciently numerous and whose residential patterns afford the opportunity of creating districts in which they will be able to elect represen- tatives of their choice. f. Subject and subsidiary to the requirements of subdivisions a, b, c, d, and e of this section, the following principles shall be followed in the creation of senate, assembly, and congressional districts. A princi- ple with a lower number shall have precedence over a principle with a higher number. i. To the extent possible, counties shall not be divided in the forma- tion of districts, except to create districts wholly within a county pursuant to state law. ii. Where possible, county subdivisions shall not be divided in the formation of districts, except to create districts wholly within a coun- ty subdivision. For the purposes of this act, a county subdivision shall be a city (except for a city with a population of one million or more), a town, or an Indian reservation whose territory is exclusive of the territory of any city or town. To the extent possible, county subdivi- sions with larger populations shall be divided in preference to division of those with smaller populations. iii. If a town must be divided, where possible, incorporated villages shall not be divided. iv. Senate, assembly, and congressional districts shall be as compact in form as is possible. Plans of senate, assembly, or congressional
districts shall be compared, using average numerical measures, for each such plan, of: (1) geographic dispersion, the degree to which the terri- tory of districts is either tightly packed or widely spread out, (2) the relation of the perimeter lengths to the areas of districts, and (3) the dispersion of the populations of districts; but no measure shall be employed that is scale-sensitive, according different weight to the compactness of districts in rural, as compared with urban areas, or yielding different measures for identically shaped districts that differ only in absolute size. v. To the extent possible, a senate, assembly, or congressional district shall unite communities defined by actual shared interests, taking account of geographic, social, economic, and other factors that indicate commonality of interest, and districts shall be formed so as to promote the orderly and efficient administration of elections. vi. To the extent possible, the residences of two or more incumbent members of the same body shall not be placed in the same district of such body, and the residences of incumbent legislators and members of congress shall be included in the district with the largest number of their existing constituents, but the requirements of subdivisions a, b, c, d, and e of this section, and of paragraphs i, ii, iii, iv, and v of this subdivision, shall always take precedence over, and shall never be subordinated to, the requirements of this paragraph or the preservation of the cores of existing districts. S 4. This act shall take effect immediately; provided, however, that the amendments to section 83-m of the legislative law made by section one of this act shall not affect the expiration and repeal of such section and shall expire and be deemed repealed therewith.

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