ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) – New York State’s ten-member “Independent Redistricting Commission” met virtually Thursday. They’re tasked with redrawing the state’s legislative office and Congressional district lines.
Back in 2014, New York voters approved a ballot proposal amending the state constitution to create an “Independent Redistricting Commission” to come up with the lines for Congressional, State Assembly and State Senate seats. Those lines are determined every 10 years following the Census count.
“It’s not fully independent, because the majority of the commissioners are appointed by the legislature. But it is separate and apart from the legislature in its functioning, and in its role in the redistricting process,” said League of Women Voters of New York State Deputy Director Jennifer Wilson.
The Commission is still in its early stages. Much of Thursday’s discussion was about leadership roles, by laws and public outreach. No agreement on “chair” roles was reached.
“There’s already bipartisan, co-executive directors. It kind of makes sense to have bipartisan chairs, but it’s up to the commission. At the end of the day, this is our first go with this. They get to decide what they want to do,” Wilson said.
They did agree to begin putting together a website for public information. Wilson says the maps they create will need to be available to the public in September, and they will need to hold public hearings. The deadline to have their final maps to the legislature to be voted on for approval is January 1, 2022.
“So in between that, that timeline, this basic whole year is going to be them, looking at the census counts, working with local community groups and individuals and figuring out what these new maps are going to look like,” Wilson said.
Thursday, the Commission agreed to try to have a website live and open for public input by mid-January.