No state deal yet on Congress' districts

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos in Albany. (Jan. Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos in Albany. (Jan. 17, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

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ALBANY -- State lawmakers might give up trying to agree on drawing new boundaries for New York's congressional districts and leave the task to a federal panel, officials said Monday.

Legislators formally introduced proposals that outline new election districts for the State Senate and Assembly. But they noticeably omitted Congress. They said recent negotiations failed to produce a resolution, although they said talks continue.

"We're trying to get an agreement, but right now it's not going in a positive direction," said Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre).

If the State Legislature fails to act on congressional lines this week, it's likely that maps proposed last week by U.S. Magistrate Roanne Mann will take effect.

Her proposal, which was slated to be updated this week before being forwarded to a three-judge panel, was striking for the lack of protests it sparked, legislators said.

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Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) said even if a last-minute agreement is reached, the judge's proposal will stay largely intact.

"There probably won't be wholesale changes," Silver told reporters.

New York's delegation must shrink from 29 to 27 due to census changes.

To do so, Mann proposed carving up the districts of Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-Hurley) upstate, who is retiring, and Rep. Bob Turner (R-Queens), the delegation's newest member.

On Long Island, Mann proposed making Rep. Steve Israel's (D-Dix Hills) district entirely North Shore-based and Rep. Peter King's (R-Seaford) entirely made up of the South Shore.

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She proposed giving a section of Nassau County currently represented by Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Roslyn Heights) to Israel; Ackerman said if the proposal stands he would run in a Queens district.

With Ted Phillips

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