Friday September 1, 2017
Some of our local state legislators seem to be unaware that every 10 years the majority and minority leaders of the state Senate and House appoint four members of a five-person state redistricting commission, and the state Supreme Court typically appoints one. The members of this commission are appointed by party leaders, which injects political bias into the process.
Some of our legislators are also unaware of how congressional redistricting works in the state, a distinct process dominated by the current majority party in the state General Assembly, which again injects political bias into the process.
Senate Bill 22 and House Bill 722 will fix this mess. They propose a process that involves consensus among 11 randomly selected commission members.
These bills exclude from the process those with any personal interests of injecting political bias into the process. The process proposed by these bills is transparent, and it invites public comment, unlike the current practice.
Final accountability for the proposed process would rest with the state Supreme Court, which could order the most basic, unbiased redistricting by an independent expert.
Neither of the current processes has any accountability other than appeals to the state Supreme Court, which simply directs the same broken processes be used again.
I urge readers to call, mail, email or, best of all, visit their two state legislators now. Urge them to learn all they can about these bills. Urge them to co-sponsor and to support them. Urge them to call for public hearings now.
People need to fight for redistricting bills