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Redistricting Plan Closer to Approval

By Mark Scott

Albany, NY – The state Legislature's congressional redistricting plan has received the tentative approval of the U.S. Justice department.

The Justice Department clearance is a blow to Congressman John LaFalce, who was hoping federal officials would have rejected the plan for violating the rights of minorities under the Voting Rights Act.

The new district lines throw LaFalce in the same district as fellow Democrat Louise Slaughter of Rochester.

Some state legislators had argued the redistricting plan dilutes the voting power of minorities in both Buffalo and Rochester by packing them largely into the new LaFalce-Salughter district, while making several surrounding congressional districts more Republican, and more white.

A three-judge federal court panel, which is overseeing New York's redistricting effort, has scheduled a hearing for Friday in Manhattan when it is expected to formally adopt the Legislature's plan.

That would allow congressional candidates to begin circulating petitions to run in this Fall's election.