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Saturday, October 25, 2014
Government
Democrats cheer judge’s redistricting decision
Legislature tables vote on GOP proposal
Scott Brinton/Herald
Under a Republican plan to redraw the Nassau County Legislature’s district lines, Democratic Legislator David Denenberg, of Merrick, would see his district –– the 19th –– merged with Legislator Joseph Scannell’s district –– the 5th. In effect, Democrats would lose a seat. A State Supreme Court justice, however, placed a temporary restraining order on the plan on Thursday, effectively preventing it from taking effect until the matter is decided in court. Above, Denenberg at Monday's redistricting hearing.

By Scott Brinton

Democrats welcomed news last Thursday that a State Supreme Court justice had issued a temporary restraining order barring the Republican-controlled Nassau County Legislature from moving ahead with a plan to redraw the Legislature’s lines.

Dozens of residents turned out at a May 9 public hearing to protest the plan, saying it represented a power grab by the GOP. County Attorney John Ciampoli drew up the plan shortly after results of the U.S. census were released in April. The Legislature was scheduled to vote on it on May 16, but Judge Steven Jaeger’s decision granting the restraining order effectively barred the Legislature from deciding the matter on Monday, when a vote on the proposal was supposed to take place. The Legislature wound up tabling the vote.

The Legislature’s Democratic minority filed suit on May 10 to enjoin the Republican redistricting plan. Jaeger is expected to issue a final decision in the case on May 26. In the meantime, Legislator David Denenberg, a Democrat from Merrick, said, “As I expected, the courts rejected the county attorney’s and the Republican majority’s unique and absurd interpretation of the county charter … Not only is this ill-fated plan unfair and illegal, but it would have cost taxpayers millions of dollars. To me, wasting taxpayers’ money is never acceptable.”

“This is a victory for the democratic process in Nassau County,” said Jay Jacobs, the New York state and Nassau County Democratic Committee chairman. “The Republicans in the County Legislature want to ignore the law and redraw district lines two years ahead of the deadline prescribed by our county charter. We know this is unethical, illegal and wrong, and we’re glad that the judge wants to consider this case carefully.”

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