Good morning. It is Friday. We’ll look at the latest twist in New York reclassification. We’re also catching up with the state budget in Albany, which will be officially late.
The decision even surprised some Republicans: A judge declared New York’s new legislative maps unconstitutional and said the Democrat-led map-drawing process had been irrevocably compromised.
The ruling of Steuben County Supreme Court Justice Patrick McAllister, above, blocked use of the cards in this year’s election, potentially stirring up midterm congressional games. Candidates have already started campaigning in the new districts for the primary, scheduled for June 28. McAllister also invalidated the Assembly and Senate tickets.
The judge, a Republican, said the new Congressional cards had violated New York’s new ban on partisan gerrymandering — essentially accusing Democrats of the same tactics they’ve complained about when Republicans used them in red states. “The court finds on the basis of clear evidence and beyond reasonable doubt that the Congressional map was drawn unconstitutionally with political bias,” wrote McAllister in his 18-page opinion. New York’s congressional cards favor Democrats in 22 of the 26 new districts.
McAllister gave the Democrat-led legislature until April 11 to prepare new “dual-backed cards” for Congress, the State Senate and the Assembly. He said he would appoint an independent special master to draw the line if lawmakers fail to do so, raising the possibility that the party’s primaries could be postponed in June.
Governor Kathy Hochul and Letitia James, the state attorney general, issued a statement together saying they plan to appeal. My colleague Nicholas Fandos writes that such a move is likely to preserve McAllister’s decision and allow this year’s elections to go ahead using the districts passed in February.
“This is a step in the process,” said Michael Murphy, a spokesman for Democrats in the state Senate. “We always knew that this case would be decided by the courts of appeal.”
Democrats can challenge the ruling in the Supreme Court Appeals Division or the State Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court. Both tribunals are expected to be more favorable to Democrats than Steuben County, which borders Pennsylvania. It is home to Corning Inc., the glass manufacturer.
“The plaintiffs got what they wanted by going to court in Steuben County,” said Jeffrey Wice, an adjunct professor at the New York Law School’s Census and Redistricting Institute. “Whether they will carry their win all the way to the State Court of Appeals is an uphill battle for them.”
What you need to know about reclassification
Republicans welcomed the ruling and expressed confidence that they would win on appeal. John Faso, a former congressman who serves as a spokesman for the Republican plaintiffs, called it a “complete victory” for the petitioners, who were voters from across the state. But the lawsuit was funded and overseen by Republicans in Washington and Albany, who filed the lawsuit shortly after Hochul signed the new cards into law.
Prepare for a chance of showers in the early afternoon, with steady temperatures in the mid-50s. The evening will be partly cloudy with temperatures around 30 degrees.
parking on the other side
Valid until April 14 (Maundy Thursday).
Missing a deadline in Albany
As a reporter, I don’t like to think about hitting a deadline. But the state legislature just screwed up a big one. The state budget had to be signed, sealed and delivered – or at the very least approved and perhaps voted on – before midnight.
But my colleagues Luis Ferré-Sadurni and Jesse McKinley write that the state Senate has adjourned Thursday until Monday. The Assembly – which is usually the slower-moving room – also issued.
Government Kathy Hochul released a statement with a hopeful prognosis, even though her first budget is overdue. “We are moving closer to an agreement, with consensus on key policy issues,” she said. “New Yorkers need to know that progress is being made.”
Although the April 1 deadline is set in the state constitution, the state comptroller’s office said no state audits would be delayed unless a deal is postponed after 4 p.m. Monday.
Hochul, a Democrat, had proposed a $216.3 billion budget to jump-start state recovery from the pandemic. The legislature, controlled by fellow Democrats, wanted to spend at least $6 billion more. They suggested pumping more money into the State University of New York and the City University of New York — we probably won’t know how much until other issues are resolved.
One such issue is the reform of the state’s bail law, which the legislature revised in 2019. Hochul, in response to a rise in crime in the pandemic era and perhaps to Republicans’ success in attacking Democrats, called for more categories of crime to be eligible for bail. She also suggested allowing judges to consider how dangerous a defendant was in making bail decisions for those charged with serious crimes. Mayor Eric Adams supports those changes, but they are meeting resistance from progressives in the Senate and the Assembly.
Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who heads the state Senate, flatly rejected the hazard provision on Thursday. “We’ve always stood the same way,” she said. “We are not introducing any danger.”
It’s a sign that summer is coming as the Department of Parks and Recreation is making a last-ditch effort to recruit lifeguards for the city’s eight beaches and 53 outdoor pools.
Iris Rodriguez-Rosa, the first deputy commissioner for parks, said it was more difficult to find suitably qualified swimmers than it was before the pandemic. “It’s a national issue, trying to get lifeguards,” she said. “Due to Covid, there were fewer secondary schools where swimming teams participated. Swimmers missed training time due to closed pools. They’re not in such good shape.”
How US reclassification works
What is reclassification? It is redrawing the boundaries of the congressional and state legislative districts. It happens every 10 years, after the census, to reflect changes in the population.
Lifeguards must sign up for a test and there are requirements: They must be at least 16 and must pass a visual check (not wearing glasses or contact lenses). Most importantly, there’s a swim test — lifeguards must be able to cover 50 yards in the water in 35 seconds or less, demonstrating what the park department calls “proper form.” Those who pass undergo 40 hours of training en route to earning a minimum of $16 per hour.
Rodriguez-Rosa said she watched testing sessions in January. “I wish I could do 50 yards,” she said wistfully.
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I was on a rooftop in Brooklyn looking down
and had packed a camera, took it out
and loaded my last roll of black and white film.
patiently hold still.
saw an empty bird’s nest on a windowsill.
think they all learned to fly, wish them all the best.
saw a well dressed woman put mail in her bag
and a tricycle with a missing wheel in the mud.
for what it’s worth:
a photo is the only way to reverse time travel.
what looked like a castle at first
was really just the back of the church.