Look, I know I've said this before, but Gov. David Paterson is leaving an incomparable progressive legacy on corrections issues in New York. The budget passed by the state Legislature yesterday would end the practice of prison-based gerrymandering, by which conservative upstate politicians inflate their power by counting the largely black prison population as constituents despite the fact that inmates, by definition, reside in the district involuntarily.Hmmm...I'm not anything like an expert on state government in general, and New York state government in particular, but I do know that the New York State Senate had been a GOP-led anomaly for many years, and that Democrats took it over after the 2008 election. Now, I don't know what any of the various liberal governors (everyone but Pataki, right?) have thought about these issues over the years, and for all I know those Republican State Senates were all for the reforms Serwer lauds but were blocked by the various governers...but I'm a bit suspicious, to say the least.
Whatever else can be said about Paterson's term, the man reformed the draconian Rockefeller drug laws, outlawed the NYPD's stop-and-frisk database, and is poised to end the state's use of a terrible political practice reminiscent of the three-fifths compromise. That's really something.
I'll readily admit I'm talking through my hat here, and I'll be glad to run an apology or a correction or whatever if I'm wrong, but I'm willing to bet that it the change in the legislature was the key factor here, not the governor. Anyone know?