Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) today called on the Governor and Legislative Leaders to place redistricting reform on the agenda for any Extraordinary Session to be called prior to December 31, 2010.
Tedisco was among the scores of state legislators from both sides of the aisle who signed Mayor Ed Koch’s NY Uprising pledge on redistricting reform -- the method of drawing legislative district lines.
“Those of us who signed the ‘Hero of Reform’ pledge have a real opportunity before the year is out to make good on our word and deliver on the fundamental reform that the 19.5 million New Yorkers elected us to accomplish,” said Tedisco.
There’s urgency to reforming the redistricting process this year as it takes an amendment to the state constitution to change the law which would have to pass in two consecutive legislative terms. If redistricting reform is passed in the current term ending December 31st, it would then be able to come before the legislature again next year. If approved in the 2011-12 term then the amendment would be on the ballot in 2012.
Tedisco is the sponsor of redistricting reform legislation (A.06721) to create legislative districts based on common communities and not political power blocks. Assemblyman and Senator-Elect Michael Gianaris also sponsors a redistricting reform bill on his side of the aisle (A.05279) that could be considered in an extraordinary session.
“Free, fair, open and competitive elections are at the heart of the democratic process. In spite of this fact, for too long election maps in this state have been drawn-up behind closed doors motivated entirely by political concerns that have little if anything to do with effective representation for the people of New York State,” said Tedisco.
“There's no better time for the legislature to finally enact true non-partisan, independent redistricting reform. Missing this important opportunity to take decisive action will only delay the real reform that New Yorkers seek,” said Tedisco.
To view the letter to Governor Paterson, click here.