ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday he will veto the new legislative district maps proposed by the state Senate and Assembly majorities. That throws the process into likely negotiations to revise what Cuomo and good-government groups called partisan efforts to solidify the majorities' power.
"The maps are unacceptable," Cuomo said Friday after a fundraising event for the National Governors Association. "I think anyone who looks at the maps will see the political machinations. You don't have to look hard."
It is unlikely the Legislature will be able to override Cuomo's veto of the plans drawn by the majorities. That would require votes from the minorities - Senate Democrats and Assembly Republicans - to achieve the two-thirds votes needed.
So legislative leaders will likely negotiate changes with Cuomo. Lawsuits are also expected to challenge the lines.
The Senate's Republican majority declined to comment on Cuomo's plan to veto.
Michael Whyland, spokesman for the Assembly's Democratic majority, said a round of public hearings starting next week will help guide whether any changes are necessary.
"The Assembly's map incorporated many elements of proposals submitted by numerous voting rights and good government groups, private citizens and public officials and adhered to sound principles," Whyland said.
Redistricting sets election district boundaries for the next 10 years based on the census and voting rights laws, but majorities in the past have used the process to pack districts with their voters.
Cuomo's announcement of his veto came as Common Cause New York said the proposed districts would hurt black and Latino voters.
The redistricting "maps are even more atrocious than we previously realized," said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York. "Both majorities went out of their way to protect their political interests to the detriment of the public interest. The maps completely undermine the essence of our democracy and must be revised to reflect the demographic reality of New York state."
The Senate and Assembly majorities, however, proposed lines their members feel comply with all state and federal voting laws. The plans include the first Asian-majority district, in Queens, for the Senate and three Asian districts, in Queens and Brooklyn, for the Assembly.
"Our plan creates the first-ever Asian American majority Senate district and maintains or strengthens every African American and Hispanic district in New York City," said Scott Reif, spokesman for the Senate's GOP majority. "The plan is fair, legal and in full compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act."