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Inmate tally continues to stump New York redistricting plan

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Deliberations over drawing new legislative and congressional districts are continuing in Albany and one of the k ey sticking points is the way prison inmates are counted.

Democrats pushed through a measure two years ago that calls for the inmates to be counted in the districts that they're sent from.

North Country state Senator Betty Little, a Republican, stands to lose as many as 11,000 constituents under that change and has sued to reverse the decision.

As Karen DeWitt reports legislators are also struggling the details of a system for determining where inmates should be counted if the Democratic plan survives.

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Reported by

Karen DeWitt
NYS Capitol Correspondent

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Lawmakers have decided where to count the prisoners, in the homes they were living before their incarceration, a change that benefits the districts of many Democrats at the expense of Republicans.  But they are still arguing about how to count the prisoners, and what kind of computer software and database to use. Task force Co Chair, Assemblyman Jack McEneny, a Democrat, offered an amendment, but it was rejected by GOP lawmakers .

“Unfortunately, we are still in disagreement,” said McEneny, a Democrat from Albany.
 
Senate Co Chair Mike Nozzolio, a Republican from the Finger Lakes, says Republicans are concerned that the Democrats want to use software that results in the state using a different census counting method than used in the federal census.
 
“I have objections and I’m going to continue to have them,” said Nozzolio.
 
McEneny says there are around 20,000 state inmates whose home address can’t be determined, and talks continue about how to count them.
 
Further complicating matters- because of court action, no date for next year’s primaries has been set yet, and Governor Cuomo is threatening to veto the legislature’s new district lines. McEneny says the legislature and governor have “agreed to disagree” on the veto threat, and the Assemblyman repeated his request that Cuomo first see the new district maps before deciding whether or not to sign the legislation.
 
Senator Nozzolio says the task force is moving ahead, as required under law, despite Cuomo’s veto warnings.
 
“Those decisions are not ours,” Nozzolio said.
 
McEneny says the new maps likely won’t made public until at least January.

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