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Suffolk County Legislature approves bipartisan redistricting commission — 2 months behind schedule

Courtesy of the Suffolk County Legislature

Suffolk County lawmakers approved a bipartisan group to set new legislative districts several months behind schedule.

The Legislature voted unanimously to have an eight-member bipartisan commission redraw district maps. The vote seals an agreement between Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Republican lawmakers. The agreement holds that at least four of the 18 districts will have a nonwhite majority of voters. The commission must hold at least 12 public hearings.

Because Republicans control the Legislature, they could have authored their own maps if they wanted. This is what Democrats tried to do in the final hours that they controlled the chamber last December. Bellone vetoed their plan after the county’s attorney said it most likely violated the county charter.

The new commission has until August to redraw the new district maps. This puts them two months behind schedule according to the county charter.

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.