State reps for St. Lawrence County proposing new format for State Senate
Two Republican state legislators representing the North Country want the State Senate to include one representative from each county.
Assemblyman Mark Walczyk, R-Watertown, and Sen. Joe Griffo, R-Rome, want the State Senate makeup to be more closely modeled after the federal Senate, where each state gets two senators. This would reduce the New York State Senate to 62 seats, down from the current 63.The current state Senate districts are based on population, as are the state Assembly districts.
Walczyk and Griffo, in a joint statement, said their proposed formula "would lead to a better and less parochial government for all New Yorkers."
"The goal of a two-house legislature is to make sure every person in every area is represented. Because New York City and its immediate surroundings contain such a disproportionate amount of our state's population, the unintended consequence has been to effectively disempower virtually any state resident outside of the immediate vicinity of New York City," Walczyk said in a prepared statement. "By giving a guaranteed vote per county in the Senate, we'd break the tides of partisanship and the oppression of the majority from the population center. You put me in the Assembly to propose common sense, good-government reforms that will help protect every New Yorker's way of life; and this bill achieves just that."
“People are rightfully frustrated with the authoritarian approach demonstrated Governor and a lack of checks and balances, particularly during this recent public health crisis,” Griffo said in a prepared statement. “Many, especially in upstate, are discouraged by the unwillingness shown by the downstate-dominated legislative majorities to counteract and confront the actions of the administration. Recent gubernatorial actions and focuses have once again demonstrated the need for balance in state government. While I recognize that there are a number of significant legal and other obstacles in the way, I believe that our bill is what is needed to ensure that all voices are being heard and that all regions get the attention they deserve.”
A common argument made by proponents of Senate seats being determined by population is "land doesn't vote, people do."