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Bello signs bill creating six majority-Black legislative districts in Rochester


County Executive Adam Bello signs a redistricting plan passed by the Monroe County Legislature in December. - PHOTO BY JEREMY MOULE
  • County Executive Adam Bello signs a redistricting plan passed by the Monroe County Legislature in December.
Monroe County Executive Adam Bello on Thursday signed legislation that will redraw the boundaries of all 29 districts of the County Legislature, capping a yearlong political feud.

Bello added his signature to the deal immediately after a legally required public hearing on the matter, which lasted less than a minute and drew no speakers.

“This will give certainty to residents, to potential candidates who are running where their potential boundaries are and I want to thank all parties for working together on this,” Bello said after the hearing.

Specifically, the legislation creates six majority-Black districts in the impoverished neighborhoods ringing downtown Rochester. The Legislature passed the plan 27-2 in late December. The deal was a compromise between Legislature President Sabrina LaMar and Bello, who had previously vetoed two other proposals passed by legislators.

LaMar, a Democrat who caucuses with the Republicans, had previously championed a plan that would have created five majority-Black districts covering the neighborhoods around downtown. After that plan passed the Legislature, Bello vetoed it on the grounds that he believed “it reduces opportunities for communities of color to elect their candidates of choice to the County Legislature.”

Bello and LaMar then publicly released their own proposals, both of which included six majority-Black districts around downtown, which led to negotiations and the final redistricting plan.

The approved map will likely bring an end to two federal lawsuits filed against the county and the Legislature over the redistricting process, which is required by law every 10 years.

The Monroe County Board of Elections hopes to release detailed maps of the districts within two to three weeks, according to Republican Elections Commissioner Lisa Nicolay.

Jeremy Moule is CITY’s deputy editor. He can be reached at [email protected].