Colby Hamilton, Writer, WNYC News
Colby Hamilton is a general assignment reporter. He originally joined WNYC as a political blogger. He's a proud graduate of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
For those that feel accustomed (or entitled) to public hearings to discuss draft redistricting maps—as are currently happening in the city—LATFOR co-chair Assemblyman Jack McEneny has some disappointing news: don’t expect the same for the congressional maps.
McEneny reportedly made the comment at the LATFOR hearing in Brooklyn on Wednesday. “That’s correct,” he said when asked if he had said there likely wouldn’t be time for a set of public hearings on the congressional lines when they finally get finished.
“I’m sure there will be concerns. Right now my main concern is finishing on time, thank you Judge Sharpe,” McEneny said, referring to the federal judge who set June 26 as New York’s primary date for congress.
He also pointed out the last redistricting process a decade ago had no public hearings. That’s true. In fact, over the past 30 years there have never been public hearings over the proposed redistricting lines. That’s because Democrats and Republicans couldn’t come to an agreement. Only when the threat of a federal judge imposing lines were the two sides able—miraculously—to come to an agreement right before the deadline.
“Some decisions have to be made, they haven’t been made yet,” McEneny said about the status of line drawing process. “We have deadlines. The first deadline is to get these nine public hearings finished.
“In the meantime we haven’t drawn the congressional lines yet.”
He said that, “in an ideal world,” he hoped to have draft congressional maps “done during President Week with legal descriptions so that we could present something to the legislature for a vote when they come back from the break.”
McEneny’s talking about the week of Presidents’ Day on Monday, February 21. That would mean that the earliest the legislature could vote on lines would be their next session day, February 29.
“If things were a little different, we’d have a little negotiating room but right now the main thing is to get it done,” McEneny said.