Monthly Archives: November 2014

Will Albany County Finally Settle the Voting Rights Act Challenge This Week?

A special meeting may be held Tuesday night for Albany County Legislature’s lawmakers to consider a settlement to the Voting Rights Act challenge to the county legislature’s plan. This report from the Albany Times Union goes into the details of the Thanksgiving weekend negotiations.

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Settlement Sought In Albany County Voting Rights Act Litigation

The Albany Times-Union’s Jordan Carleo-Evangelist reports that settlement talks may be underway in Pope v. County of Albany.  Plaintiffs are seeking creation of an additional effective minority county legislative district. County officials may be open to a settlement with the challengers pending consideration of delaying elections under new lines until 2016.

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State Does Little To Rein In Corporations That Routinely Exceed Campaign Contribution Limits

The New York World discusses how New York does little to limit corporate campaign contributions.  From the article, “between 2011 and 2013, the board  (of Elections) made 164 such referrals to district attorneys across the state. Not a single prosecution resulted, however, prompting the board to stop sending referrals. Meanwhile, corporations continue to regularly make contributions in excess of the $5,000 annual limit. In fact, more than 150 companies have doled out at least $350,000 in excess campaign contributions since Jan. 1, 2012, according a New York World analysis of state campaign finance data.”

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After The Vote: Redistricting Amendment Passes

Roger Hannigan Gilson’s piece in the Legislative Gazette on the redistricting amendment’s passage can be found here.

A few things to note: the legislature would not be necessarily bound by the criteria assigned to the commission if the legislature decides to craft its own plan (after rejecting two commission plans). LATFOR, the state legislature’s redistricting task force,would still remain as a functioning body even after  a new commission is created in 2021. LATFOR’s role may be unclear to some, but it will remain an entity unless the legislature decides to eliminate it in a future annual state budget. LATFOR may actually have a “defined” role if the legislature tasks it to develop Plan #3.

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Are Eight Parties In New York Enough? Or Too Many?

Stroock law firm attorney Jerry Goldfeder provides an overview of New York’s fusion party laws, history of minor political parties and poses the question whether New York’s newest parties, the Stop Common Core and Women’s Equality Party will withstand the test and remain viable or whether they were simply created for the 2014 elections alone.

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Is New York Campaign Finance Reform Dead?

The Gotham Gazette explores whether Governor Cuomo will continue the fight for campaign finance reform in light of the new GOP majority in the State Senate.

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Two New Statewide Political Parties To Go On Future Ballots

Newsday’s Dan Janison reports that New York now has two new political parties, each having received the necessary 50,000 votes for Governor in last week’s election. Joining the Women’s Equality Party is the Stop Common Core Party. Stop Common Core plans to contact GOP election attorney Jeff Buley and organize itself as a political party with  a chair and bylaws.

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NYPIRG’s Bill Mahoney Moves To Capital New York

Bill Mahoney, a longtime analyst at NYPIRG, moves over to join Capital New York’s Albany Bureau to cover lobbying and campaign finance issues. Bill is a “go to” person when researchers are looking for accurate and informative material on campaign reporting.

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Albany County Legislature’s Voting Rights Act Challenge Trial Gets Underway

A Voting Rights Act challenge against the Albany County Legislature gets underway in federal court in Albany today. In an article appearing in the Albany Times Union, plaintiff attorneys argue that an additional fifth minority district should be required. Under the plan adopted in 2012, only four minority districts were drawn.

http://m.timesunion.com/local/article/Courtroom-will-hear-legislature-map-flap-5874528.php

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Voters Approve Redistricting Amendment Creating Advisory Commission

New York State voters approved Proposal 1 yesterday, creating a commission to submit congressional and state legislative redistricting plans to the state legislature for approval beginning in 2022.

Unless a state constitutional convention meets later in the decade, the amendment’s commission will be used after the 2020 census. In 2017, voters will be asked whether to convene a constitutional convention to meet before 2020.

The results:

Pro   1,479,914   42.9%

Con  1,098,307   31.8%

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