N.C. House to introduce redistricting reform bills | News
News
INDY Week's news blog

Archives | RSS

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

N.C. House to introduce redistricting reform bills

Posted by on Tue, Feb 3, 2015 at 4:58 PM

Lawmakers from the N.C. House of Representatives put on a united front Tuesday to talk about bipartisan efforts to end gerrymandering in the state.

Two bills aimed at securing a nonpartisan redistricting process are likely to emerge this legislative session.

The first, sponsored by Reps. Paul (Skip) Stam, Jon Hardister and Chuck McGrady, all Republicans, and Grier Martin, a Democrat, would give the power to draw up congressional and legislative voting maps to a nonpartisan legislative staff rather than to partisan lawmakers, for the next round of redistricting beginning in 2021.

Rep. Charles Jeter, R-Mecklenburg, said he would file a second bill this week with Sen. Jeff Jackson, a Mecklenburg Democrat, that would charge a nine-member, bipartisan commission—appointed from all three branches of state government— with submitting three redistricting maps. After a public comment period, the General Assembly would have 120 days to approve one of the maps. The timeline for this process would begin in 2028, with the first redistricting to take place in 2031.

Both bills would call for a referendum to enshrine a nonpartisan redistricting process in the state’s Constitution, as in the fourteen other states that have adopted redistricting reform.

“I think we all agree that redistricting reform is necessary,” said Rep. Jon Hardister, R-Guilford. “It’s about good government, it’s about the golden rule, treating others the way you want to be treated.”

The Republican-led N.C. House approved a redistricting reform bill in 2011 (and sponsored another in 2013, which wasn’t brought to a vote) but the bill died in the Senate. And the Senate may prove to be an obstacle again this time around.

Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson, said that the extended timelines for reform, and the option of two bills, “is, to me, a way to incentivize the Senate to join on.”

“The goal is getting past the Senate,” McGrady said. “Getting it done is the most important thing and I firmly believe we will gain more traction with our friends in the Senate by giving them this option.”

Rep. Stam is hopeful that the Senate will be on board this session. “Times change, people change, ideas change,” he said. “We work on it.”

Numbers from the North Carolina Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform illustrate the need for an independent redistricting process. On average since 1992, 43 percent of state legislative races have been contested; in the 2014 election, just 8 percent of legislative races were competitive, being decided by 5 percentage points or less, “diminishing the voice of the political middle,” said Liz Johnson, Mayor Pro Tem of Morrisville and a member of the North Carolina League of Municipalities.

“The current redistricting process can split communities with similar problems and similar needs,” she said. “Dividing communities with interest can leave these communities without the strong, unified voice they need at the Legislature. It can leave voters with similar economic interests split up or fractured when it comes to political representation.”



Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in News



Twitter Activity

Comments

Mr. Goldsmith, please read Jennifer's post below. If you have journalistic integrity, please fix your blog as it shows up …

by Sherry D. on Mayor McFarlane Will Not Be Turned Away from Democratic Party Events, Spokesman Says (News)

Look Lisa, your grandfather's story is tough. I would suggest however that he is a victim of capitalist oppression, not …

by CPF (CommiePinkoFag) on “Durham’s a Bright Light for Our Movement”: After Their Cases Were Continued Until November, Defend Durham Activists Took a Victory Lap (News)

Most Recent Comments

Mr. Goldsmith, please read Jennifer's post below. If you have journalistic integrity, please fix your blog as it shows up …

by Sherry D. on Mayor McFarlane Will Not Be Turned Away from Democratic Party Events, Spokesman Says (News)

Look Lisa, your grandfather's story is tough. I would suggest however that he is a victim of capitalist oppression, not …

by CPF (CommiePinkoFag) on “Durham’s a Bright Light for Our Movement”: After Their Cases Were Continued Until November, Defend Durham Activists Took a Victory Lap (News)

Apparently we must hope that the N&O doesn't follow through on this trend by deciding that they will cover legislative …

by khoragos on The N&O’s Performing Arts Correspondent Says the Paper Is Cutting Back on Performing Arts Reviews (News)

Cancelling the parade affects all people. I usually went just for the parade, not the night events. Parents take their …

by Aiden on Carolina Jews for Justice Says NC Pride Schedule Fix Isn't Enough (News)

I should also add that it was professor Daniel Sherman who penned the letter that we all signed after some …

by elin o'Hara slavick on UNC Faculty Members Call for the Removal of Silent Sam (News)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation