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> Redistricting - News Details - Committee Recommends Acceptance of Redistricting Report

News Details - Committee Recommends Acceptance of Redistricting Report

The Legislature’s Government Operations Committee today moved ahead the process toward reapportioning County legislative districts, as it recommended the Legislature accept the Independent Redistricting Commission’s report advocating a 14-member Legislature.

The Commission’s recommended configuration is revised slightly from the version first submitted to the Legislature. On April 20, the Commission revised its recommended district boundaries within the City of Ithaca to permit County district lines to coincide with the City ward boundaries now recommended by the City’s Redistricting Committee, changes that primarily affect treatment of the City’s South Hill, East Hill, and Downtown neighborhoods.

The Committee recommends that the Legislature accept and act upon the Commission’s revised recommendation, directing staff to prepare a proposed Local Law to implement the new boundary lines creating the 14 County legislative districts.

The recommendation came by a unanimous 5-0 vote, although Legislator Mike Lane expressed some “reluctance,” which he stressed did not reflect any lack of support of the Commission’s recommendation. Lane maintained that, under the Commission’s charge, the interim step of legislative action prior to preparation of the Local Law is unnecessary.

Several committee members, including Chair Dooley Kiefer, said they believed it appropriate for Legislators to have an opportunity to discuss their views on what reducing the body by one, to 14 members, would mean, before directing that the proposed Local Law be drafted. Both Legislators Pam Mackesey and Pat Pryor expressed concern about the effect such a reduction would have on legislator workload, including committee responsibilities that Pryor described as “barely manageable” now. She said it is time to get a better sense of what the Legislature will support before proceeding further.

Legislator Lane stated that, as the Commission was charged, the Local Law should be based on the Commission’s report and put to public hearing, and he cautioned against overriding the Commission’s recommendations, which he said would “destroy a year of independent Commission work.”

The recommendation is scheduled to be considered by the Legislature June 3.