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New York’s Legislature, Gov. Hochul approve redistricting maps

New York’s new political boundaries were finalized by the state Legislature on Thursday, February 3, with Governor Kathy Hochul signing those bills into law the same day.

Democrats have dismissed claims from Republicans and good government groups that say the party gerrymandered state and federal district boundaries. Democratic leadership says the state Assembly and Senate maps approved this week reflect population shifts and use similar methods Republicans have used for redistricting in the past, according to Albany Times-Union.

Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt, whose district covers Niagara and Orleans counties, has railed against the redrawn map. He says one issue is that Niagara Falls was removed from his district despite Democratic lawmakers previously saying that would not be the case.

“Clearly there was an agenda here that was delivered when you look at those maps,” Ortt said to reporters following the vote.

Good government groups The League of Women Voters of New York and Brennan Center for Justice have both said the map is clearly gerrymandered and the public should have an opportunity to weigh in during public hearings.

The maps passed by the Legislature are expected to be challenged by Republican groups in court. The responsibility of redistricting was placed upon the Legislature after New York’s Independent Redistricting Commission failed to get their proposed map approved in January 2022.