Dutchess legislature to consider independent commission for redistricting

POUGHKEEPSIE – Local Law #2 of 2019 would change the Dutchess County Charter to establish an independent commission to oversee redrawing of county legislative districts.

Assistant Minority Leader Kristofer Munn, a Democrat, said during discussion at Monday night’s monthly legislative meeting that he is fully in favor of the change.

“An independent redistricting commission that would separate drawing of the lines of the legislature from the legislators themselves, preventing politicians from picking their voters rather than voters picking their politicians,” Munn said. 

The commission would consist of seven members, two each picked by the majority and minority party leaders.  Those four would pick three more members. 

Excluded from the commission would be county officials and employees and, political party leaders.  In theory, no political criteria may be used in creating districts.

The local law will be up for discussion at the June monthly meeting.  If approved by the legislature, a referendum would be on the November general election ballot.

In other business during Monday night’s monthly meeting, the legislature overrode the county executive’s veto of a local law seeking to allow liquor stores to extend hours, if they so choose.  The State Liquor Authority will conduct hearings before making a final decision at their level.  The legislature also approved two bonds.  One for $16.6 million is to upgrade the HVAC systems in the county office building and courthouse.  The other, for $6 million is for highway and bridge improvements.

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