Senate Republicans on Friday evening quietly put in paperwork to add a 63rd seat in the Senate, ostensibly aimed at helping their chances of retaining the majority in a newly drawn Senate in November.
Senate Democrats cried foul today, saying Republicans are misrepresenting the state Constitution for political purposes and saying it goes to the heart of the reason why the state should have an independent redistricting process. A legislative panel is currently drawing the lines. Republicans hold a slim 32-30 seat majority in the Senate.
“The constitution of the state of New York is not a toy to be played with at the Republicans’ whim when it suits their purposes and to be thrown in the garbage when it doesn’t. This is why we need an independent process,” said Sen. Michael Gianaris, D-Queens.
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, fired back today that Republicans are simply following the historical view that the Senate’s seats would be determined by the state’s population.
“It’s the called the state constitution,” Skelos said of the reason for the 63rd seat.
The state Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment is expected to outline its preliminary lines for the 212 legislative seats and 27 congressional seats as soon as next week.
Here’s some video of Gianaris and Sen. Martin Malave Dilan, D-Brooklyn, derided the Republicans’ process.