Monthly Archives: April 2015

State Senate Democrats Seek to End LLC Loohole

Casey Seiler reports in the Times Union that   “the state Senate minority on pushed for legislative action on a bill that would close the loophole that allows limited liability companies to donate as if they were individual entities and not tentacles of larger business concerns, thereby multiplying the force of deep-pocketed political donors’ dollars.”

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State Senate Elections Committee To Address LLC Loophole

THe Gotham Gazette reports that “The State Senate Elections Committee is expected to vote Monday whether to advance a bill that would close a controversial loophole in state election law that allows wealthy donors to pour unlimited cash into campaign coffers through the use of multiple limited liability corporations, or LLCs.”

The legislation is being sponsored by Democratic Senator Daniel Squadron.

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Federal Judge OKs Albany County’s New Political Map

Federal Judge Lawrence Kahn approved the remedial remap of the Albany County Legislature following a Voting Rights Act challenge, reports Jordan Carleo-Evangelist in today’s Times Union. The new plan adds a fifth minority district to the county legisature’s configuration. The court denied a local Democratic Party’s effort to delay implementation after a local political leader’s home was redistricted out of his former district (not even a 14th Amendment claim would carry forward that argument- ed.)

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NEWSDAY: Liberate Voters From Tricky Label

Newsday editorializes today on the State Board Of Elections decision to add a space for new voters to check “other” instead of listing themselves as ‘blank.” This change also goes to ending the confusion for voters who register as members of the Independence Party. “Independence” is not “independent.” Newsday advises going a step further, making the Independence Party change its name as well.

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NY Times Editorial: Voting Rights Act: By The Numbers

The New York Times today published an editorial calling for the need to combat the new flood of discriminatory voting laws within the surviving portions of the federal Voting Rights Act. The editorial reviews data from a new study on the VRA by  J. Morgan Kousser from Cal Tech. Professor Kousser reviewed empirical data  from thousands of VRA  cases  to show how the Supreme Court’s Shelby decision was wrongly decided.

It is worth noting that New York’s own record for Section 5 preclearance approvals was not stellar during the state’s thirty years under Section 5. Several statewide and New York City redistricting plans were either rejected or ran into problems at DOJ through the 1990s.

While the Justice Department precleared nearly every state and local redistricting plan after the 2010 census (except for the Texas House and congressional plans later rejected by courts), New York had a bumpy road at DOJ from the early 1970s through the post-1990s redistrictings (even though there were alleged political reasons for rejecting the 1992 Assembly plan). It was not until the 2002-3 round of state legislative and NYC city council redistrictings where New York State and City sailed through. Part of that reason was because racial polarization tests were conducted  before state assembly and city council plans were enacted, enabling redistricters to know whether plans were retrogressive before being submitted to DOJ.

Readers might be interested in a report on New York’s VRA history in a report authored by Juan Cartegena  at Latino Justice for the 2006 VRA reauthorization debate. A copy of that report can be accessed here.

Cartegena_NewYorkVRA_2006

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State Board of Election Deadlocks LLC Reclassifications

State Of Politics reports that the State Board Of Elections failed to reach agree,net to change the classification of LLCs today.

“The board, following a discussion about the influence of money in state politics and the merits of free speech in political donations, deadlocked its vote between the two Republican and two Democratic commissioners.”

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GOP Board Of Elections Co-Chair Replaced

Casey Seiler reports this morning in the Times Union that James Walsh, the Republican co-chair of the State Board of Elections, will be filled by Peter Kosinski, a former executive director of the board who left in 2008 to serve as counsel to the Senate Republican majority. The Board meets today where the LLC loophole will be considered at the request of Democratic members.

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