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The Empire

LATFOR co-chair says Speaker Silver's independent commission idea could work

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Over the weekend, the Times Thomas Kaplan wrote that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was interested in striking a deal on redistricting:

In an interview this week, the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, sketched out what he said could be a compromise — an eight-member bipartisan commission, with equal representation for each party, that would be appointed by the Legislature but made up entirely of people who are not lawmakers. The Democratic and Republican leaders in the Assembly and Senate would each appoint two members who would have equal funding, access to data and control of the map-making process.

“I think that goes a long way toward reform,” Mr. Silver said. “It wouldn’t be a political advantage to anybody. Majorities cannot just draw districts to the exclusion and the detriment of the minorities.”

The man Silver has heading up the Assembly's efforts on the LATFOR committee, Jack McEneny, said he was fine with the idea.

"I would have no objection to the kind of thing that the Speaker was advocating," McEneny said in a brief phone interview. That's likely because McEneny said he's been saying he would be open to something similar to what the Speaker proposed since at least July.

"It would seem some outside force, above reproach but knowledgeable, would be helpful for the governor to judge a plan in detail, and then make recommendations to the governor to be signed, or veto, or simply amended," he said.

In statements, Senate Republican Majority spokesperson Scott Reif has mantained what's sounding more and more like a mantra on redistricting for his side: "Senate Republicans remain committed to a redistricting process that is bipartisan, open and fair."