Redistricting proposal advances to House floor

Staff reports

Lawmakers are setting up a showdown over redistricting after a lengthy hearing today where a Democratic plan again advanced over a Republican alternative.

A House committee voted 10-7 for Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 121, the Democratic-backed plan for changing how legislative districts are drawn every 10 years.

That plan has already passed the Senate and now heads to the House floor. But it faces an uncertain future, as Republicans oppose it but at least one GOP vote is needed for it to reach the fall ballot.

The vote came after lengthy debate that included some charged accusations about how minorities would be represented, and after the committee shot down an effort by House Republicans to change the measure to reflect the "Fair Map" proposal they're pushing along with the League of Women Voters.

Both plans would end a redistricting deadlock in the current system that gives the map-drawing power to the party that's drawn from a hat. The major difference between the two proposals is who's in charge of drawing the maps. The Democratic plan has the Legislature take the first crack at that, while the GOP plan calls for a special commission to do the drawing.

"It's a risk for us. It's a risk for you," House Minority Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego, said in urging support for his party's proposal to take map-drawing away from lawmakers.

State Capitol Bureau