For Immediate Release

Republicans Repeal Independent Redistricting, Refuse to Hear Public Comment Before 1:30 AM

At 1:45 AM, well after most of the public had left and gone to bed, Republican legislators motioned and voted to add an agenda item repealing Dutchess County’s Independent Redistricting Law. This item had been tabled in the Government Services Committee, and therefore received no review or discussion in committee.

In July 2009, the Democratic majority, with bipartisan support, passed the Independent Redistricting Law that granted authority to an independent Advisory Committee to redraw legislative district boundaries. The new law sought to maintain the Advisory Board’s independence and lead to a more rational, less politically-motivated district map.

There was no public notice that the question of repeal would come before the Legislature this evening, and therefore most members of the public at large did not have the opportunity to comment. Members of the public who were already at the meeting were not allowed to comment on the proposal until 1:30 AM.

“I think that people in this county, and across the country, are tired of people in backrooms drawing lines,” said Minority Leader Sandy Goldberg.

The Legislature repealed independent redistricting in a 14-10 vote.

Several newly elected Republican legislators argued that they were elected with the authority and responsibility to draw these lines. However, this law was on the books at the time of the election, meaning that voters going to the polls were voting for officials who, at that time, had no such authority. Additionally, final approval of the district map would still have gone to the full Legislature.

Contact: Pat Kelly