On the eve of the court deadline for the Legislature to present their progress on state legislative redistricting, lawmakers in Albany are set to announce deals on the new boundaries and nearly every other major issue on the table tonight. A member of the Assembly told The Politicker lawmakers are in conference and the precise details of the various deals are still being worked out, but somethnoing will definitely emerge this evening.
“We’re going to be doing something tonight,” said the lawmaker, who didn’t want to have his name published, adding it is expected to be a late night.
A staffer in the Legislature familiar with the machinations behind the dealmaking told The Politicker Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to get a slew of his pet projects passed; a DNA databank, pension reform and a constitutional amendment legalizing casino gambling, in exchange for allowing the Legislature to draw their own redistricting lines.
“The Governor’s holding redistricting over their heads,” the staffer said. “It probably had to do with a few things like DNA or pension reform in exchange for getting redistricting.”
Democratic Senator Mike Gianaris, reached moments before he headed to the floor, had the harshest words for the reportedly lackluster redistricting deal.
“The bad guys won. It happens,” Mr. Gianaris, who heads the Senate Democrats’ campaign efforts, said. “Unfortunately for those of us who were hoping for a new era in Albany, this is about as rotten of a deal as I’ve seen.”
Asked if the Governor’s touted “reform” package was better than the status quo system of partisan gerrymandering, Mr. Gianaris had no doubt the answer was no.
“There’s no question that it’s worse, it’s regressive,” he stated.
Governor Cuomo had previously been critical of the redistricting proposals submitted by the Legislature and adamant lines be drawn through an independent process. The majority in each House, Democrats in the Assembly and Republicans in the Senate, controlled the way lines were drawn and minority members are apparently not pleased the final redistricting maps will come from the Legislature.
“There’s not going to be 100 percent consensus,” the staffer we spoke to further said. “Lots of ‘no’ votes from minority legislators.”
He also said the slew of deals showed Governor Cuomo is backtracking on his repeated promises to reform the culture in Albany by cutting down on backroom deals and vetoing Legislative lines not drawn through an independent process. He described it as “the second thing he’s flip flopped on” following his institution of the millionaire’s tax after vowing not to raise taxes.
“If anything, this proves the governor is one of us. The governor is as much Albany as anybody,” the staffer said. “This is going to be the second thing he’s flip flopped on and he’s doing it in the classic Albany backroom style. We’re going to have something as big as pension reform for millions of New Yorkers with no public hearing, were going to have all these things linked together, which he said he wouldn’t do.”