Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt and Republican lawmakers today sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie calling for a collaborative approach to creating what they called “fair and bipartisan legislative district maps.”
Ortt’s team said, “Yesterday, Supreme Court Justice Patrick McAllister of Steuben County Supreme Court declared the legislative maps – which were drawn by State Democrats after they rejected proposed maps created by the Independent Redistricting Commission – unconstitutional. Justice McAllister ordered the Legislature to produce new, bipartisan-supported maps by April 11.”
In a joint press release, Gov. Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James said, “We intend to appeal this decision.”
The Republican members wrote, “As you are aware, Supreme Court Justice McAllister issued his decision yesterday regarding the redistricting lawsuit. In his decision, he ordered that the Legislature submit bipartisan supported maps by April 11, 2022. Should bipartisan maps not be submitted by April 11, the Court will retain a neutral expert at the State’s expense. In light of this decision, we look forward to working together to create maps that most accurately represent the voters of New York State.”
Ortt’s team continued, “In 2014, New York voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment for an independent redistricting process. Last year, New York voters overwhelmingly rejected an effort by Albany Democrats to water down that independent process.
“Albany Democrats earlier this year ignored these clear results and the democratic will of New Yorkers by adopting legislation to create their own gerrymandered partisan districts, after rejecting maps created by the Independent Redistricting Commission. They did so behind closed doors, without considering input from thousands of communities of interest or holding a single public hearing.”