ALBANY — Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins on Wednesday officially took over the redrawing of election district lines for congressional and state legislative seats that will be used for the next decade.

With that announcement, New York’s first attempt under a 2014 constitutional amendment supported by voters to have an independent commission draw more competitive districts has ended.

The commission was supposed take redistricting out of the hands of the majority conferences of the Senate and Assembly. The majorities have traditionally used redistricting to shape election districts that protect their incumbents by packing more of their party’s voters into the districts. That practice has been done under both Democratic and Republican majorities over the years.

This year, Republicans could lose a congressional seat upstate. The 2010 Census count means that under federal law, New York will lose one of its 27 congressional seats to a more populous state. With the redistricting in the hands of Democrats, the seat to be lost is expected to be one now held by an upstate Republican.

The result could play into the midterm congressional elections this fall, which could alter the Democrats’ narrow majority in the House of Representatives.

The Independent Redistricting Commission, with members appointed by legislative leaders, gridlocked along partisan lines. Under the constitutional amendment written by the Legislature, if the commission fails to agree on new election district maps, redistricting is returned to the Legislature.

"New York’s redistricting reforms unfortunately didn’t create a truly independent process," Michael Li, senior counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program, told Newsday. "That in turn has opened the door for the legislature to have free reign to draw its own maps. We will see what the legislature does, but there’s going to be a lot of pressure, from both inside and outside the state, to aggressively gerrymander maps in favor of Democrats."

Democrats in the Senate and Assembly each have the two-thirds majority needed to approve the lines they draw next week.

"As per the New York State Constitution, it becomes the Legislature’s responsibility to consider fair maps that ensure all New Yorkers have equitable representation in their government," Stewart-Cousins and Heastie said in a joint statement. "That is a duty we take very seriously."

The Democratic and Republican members of the independent commission blamed each others' partisanship for the failure to agree on new election districts.

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