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.
Below is the letter that LATFOR has posted on their website justifying the increase of the State Senate from 62 to 63 seats. The move had been anticipated after Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos indicated last week that there was "a good chance" the Senate would add a 63rd seat.
Senate Republicans, according to an official, are saying the methodology used in 2002 to create 62 seats is the same being used now, and that the increase is mandated by the formula set by the New York Constitution.
In a phone interview, Democratic State Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens said Senate Republicans have reached "a new low in old Albany partisan politics."
"Just when we thought we'd turned the corner, with Governor Cuomo leading the way, to a new way of doing business in Albany, the Senate Republicans remind us that they're nothing but everything that's wrong with state government," Gianaris said. He said this gives the Governor even more of a reason to make good on his promise of vetoing the maps LATFOR produces.
One person close to LATFOR noted that Senate Republicans could have, instead of posting a memo at 5 pm on a Friday, made the announcement at the LATFOR public hearing scheduled for this coming Tuesday.
One of the big questions outstanding is whether or not Assembly Democrats cooperated with or were made aware of the Senate Republican's plans to announce the 63rd seat. As the message was posted to the LATFOR site, and one person close to LATFOR said Assembly Democrats were often the ones posting new documentation to the website, there seems to be a very high likelihood.