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Redistricting Legislation in 2013

Although the next redistricting cycle is in 2020, following the contentious battles over redrawing district lines during 2010, many states have begun efforts to comprehensively alter or reform the process. This page summarizes passed and pending redistricting bills in 2013.

Published: December 4, 2013

Redis­trict­ing, the carving of state legis­lat­ive and congres­sional district bound­ar­ies, occurs every 10 years. The respons­ib­il­ity for redraw­ing districts lies with the states rather than the federal govern­ment.

Although the next redis­trict­ing cycle is in 2020, follow­ing the conten­tious battles over redraw­ing district lines during 2010, many states have begun efforts to compre­hens­ively alter or reform the process. Other states have simply passed or proposed legis­la­tion with minor changes such as dead­lines, data hand­ling proto­cols, trans­par­ency require­ments, litig­a­tion payments, or precinct adjust­ments, among others. Never­the­less, in most states, no alter­a­tions to redis­trict­ing proced­ures were passed in 2013.

This page summar­izes the redis­trict­ing legis­la­tion that passed this year, and others that are still pending.

Over­view of Passed Bills

During the 2013 state legis­lat­ive sessions, as of Novem­ber 18, 2013:

  • 24 redis­trict­ing related bills passed in 13 differ­ent states[1]
  • Of these, 11 bills in five states involve either draw­ing, adjust­ing, or modi­fy­ing vari­ous district bound­ar­ies[2]
  • 13 bills in 10 states entail changes to redis­trict­ing processes or proced­ures[3]

The map below illus­trates the states that have passed redis­trict­ing related bills divided into two categor­ies: bills regard­ing district bound­ar­ies and bills concern­ing redis­trict­ing processes and proced­ures.

District Bound­ar­ies

Redis­trict­ing Processes or Proced­ures

Both District Bound­ar­ies and Processes/Proced­ures

Kentucky

Arkan­sas

Minnesota

Minnesota

Color­ado

Texas

Montana

Illinois

 

Texas

Indi­ana

 

Utah

Maine

 

 

Minnesota

 

 

North Caro­lina

 

 

Texas

 

 

Tennessee

 

 

Virginia

 

 

List of Passed Bills Involving Changes to Redis­trict­ing Processes or Proced­ures

Arkan­sas
 

  • One bill passed that requires precincts to be redis­tric­ted if the popu­la­tion of a single precinct exceeds 3,000 voters.

Color­ado

  • A bill passed that creates the legis­lat­ive depart­ment cash fund-redis­trict­ing account in the state treas­ury.

Illinois

  • A Senate resol­u­tion passed that outlines the rules for the internal oper­a­tions and proced­ures of the state Senate. It elim­in­ates the Redis­trict­ing Stand­ing Commit­tee.

Indi­ana

  • Two redis­trict­ing bills passed in Indi­ana this year.
    • The first bill urges the legis­lat­ive coun­cil to estab­lish an interim study commit­tee to exam­ine whether county govern­ments can be modi­fied to place (1) all exec­ut­ive powers in a single county exec­ut­ive rather than a board of commis­sion­ers and (2) all legis­lat­ive and fiscal powers in a county coun­cil.
    • The second bill specifies that any conflict between a precinct map and the descrip­tion of the precinct set forth in the precinct estab­lish­ment order is to be resolved in favor of the descrip­tion in estab­lish­ment order. It also requires the census data advis­ory commit­tee to study stand­ards for determ­in­ing resid­ency, alleg­a­tions of voter suppres­sion and elec­tion fraud, and meth­ods for redu­cing lines at polling loca­tions, among other elec­tion-related concerns during the 2013 legis­lat­ive interim.

Maine

  • A bill passed that shifts the commence­ment of redis­trict­ing from the third year of each decade to the first year of the decade. The previ­ous law stated that redis­trict­ing should occur in “1993 and every 10 years there­after,” whereas now it will happen in “2021 and every 10 years there­after.” The Legis­lat­ive Appor­tion­ment Commis­sion also has to submit the plan to Clerk of the state House of Repres­ent­at­ives no later than “June 1st of the year” that appor­tion­ment is required. Under the previ­ous law, it had to submit the plan “120 days after the conven­ing of the Legis­lature.”

Minnesota

  • Two compan­ion appro­pri­ations bills passed that alloc­ate $355,000 to the Secret­ary of State for attor­neys fees as ordered by the court in the redis­trict­ing case Hippert et al v. Ritchie et al.[4]

North Caro­lina

  • In North Caro­lina, certain inform­a­tion from the redis­trict­ing process, such as draft­ing requests to and docu­ments prepared by legis­lat­ive employ­ees, becomes part of the public record after new district plans become law. However a bill passed this year carves out an exemp­tion for attor­ney-client priv­ileged work and common law work product doctrine with respect to legis­lat­ors, from this trans­par­ency initi­at­ive.

Tennessee      

  • Two compan­ion bills passed that estab­lish new duties for the Office of Local Govern­ment, requir­ing it to main­tain geographic and redis­trict­ing data that may be util­ized to assist and advise local govern­ments with redis­trict­ing and reap­por­tion­ment. In addi­tion, the office is direc­ted to serve as a liaison with the United States Census Bureau in order to garner geographic and redis­trict­ing data for the state.

Texas

  • One bill passed which mandates that county elec­tion precincts may not contain territ­ory from more than one out of the follow­ing territ­orial units: a commis­sion­er’s precinct, justice precinct, Congres­sional district, state Repres­ent­at­ive district, Senat­orial district, and state board of educa­tion district.

Virginia

  • A bill passed that allows local­it­ies the option to initi­ate prison-based gerry­man­der­ing reform. Any county, city or town with a correc­tional facil­ity may exclude the prison popu­la­tion from that local­ity for the purpose of the census. Consequently adult inmates in correc­tional facil­it­ies may be coun­ted as resid­ents of their districts of origin. This law and its prede­cessor, HB 13, do not effect state-level redis­trict­ing.

Pending Bills[5]

During the 2013 state legis­lat­ive sessions, as of Novem­ber 18, 2013:

  • 50 redis­trict­ing bills are pending in 15 states[6]
  • Of these, seven bills in one state involve either draw­ing, adjust­ing, or modi­fy­ing vari­ous district bound­ar­ies[7]
  • 43 bills in 15 states entail changes to the redis­trict­ing processes and proced­ures[8]

Of all pending bills, only 13 out of 50 bills, or 26 percent, have moved beyond the commit­tee phase of the legis­lat­ive process. And of the bills that change the redis­trict­ing process or proced­ure, only 8 out of 43, or just shy of 19 percent, have passed their respect­ive commit­tee.

The map below illus­trates the states that have pending legis­la­tion related to draw­ing or modi­fy­ing district bound­ar­ies, and redis­trict­ing processes and proced­ures.

District Bound­ar­ies

Redis­trict­ing Processes or Proced­ures

Both District Bound­ar­ies and Processes/Proced­ures

Minnesota

Delaware

Minnesota

 

Geor­gia

 

 

Illinois

 

 

Michigan

 

 

Minnesota

 

 

Nebraska

 

 

New Mexico

 

 

New York

 

 

North Caro­lina

 

 

Ohio

 

 

Pennsylvania

 

 

Rhode Island

 

 

Tennessee

 

 

Wash­ing­ton

 

 

Wiscon­sin

 

 

Summary of Pending Bills Involving Changes to Redis­trict­ing Processes and Proced­ures

Compli­ance with consti­tu­tional mandates

  • There are two bills in one state that requires congres­sional redis­trict­ing plans to comply with the U.S. Consti­tu­tion and the state consti­tu­tion.[9]

Implic­a­tions for racial minor­it­ies

  • Three bills pending in one state that includes language that may make it more diffi­cult for minor­ity communit­ies to equally parti­cip­ate in the polit­ical process and elect candid­ates of their choice. These bills prohibit the construc­tion of districts that dilute or augment the voting strength of minor­ity communit­ies, except as may be neces­sary to comply with other criteria such as the U.S. Consti­tu­tion and the federal Voting Rights Act. Moreover, the bills prohibit the use of data regard­ing race or ethni­city except to meet the stand­ards of the U.S. Consti­tu­tion and the federal Voting Rights Act.[10]

Implic­a­tions for communit­ies of interest

  • There is one bill in one state that limits the abil­ity of communit­ies of interest to be considered in craft­ing state legis­lat­ive or congres­sional district lines.[11] The bill prohib­its districts from being drawn to favor a polit­ical party, incum­bent legis­lator or Congress­man but also extends the prohib­i­tion to prevent any district lines from dilut­ing or augment­ing the voting strength of a community of interest.

Precincts

  • There is one bill pending in one state that redefines the size and compos­i­tion of voting precincts.[12]

Prison-Based Gerry­man­der­ing

  • Four bills have been intro­duced in two states that require the state Depart­ment of Correc­tions to collect data on the last known legal resid­ence of inmates, with addi­tional require­ments that the adjus­ted data be util­ized for the construc­tion of local and state House and Senate districts.[13]

Redis­trict­ing commis­sions and criteria

  • At least 28 bills are pending in 11 states that seek to reduce the role of partis­an­ship in the redis­trict­ing process. Some bills strip the legis­lature of the respons­ib­il­ity for redis­trict­ing and alloc­ate it to inde­pend­ent commis­sions composed of unelec­ted offi­cials. Others create joint respons­ib­il­it­ies between the legis­lature and a commis­sion. Commis­sions have been proposed in diverse forms includ­ing politi­cian, advis­ory, back-up and inde­pend­ent. In addi­tion, frequently attached to these proposed shifts in the body that performs redis­trict­ing are stand­ards that constrain the actors. In some instances, the bills only define or rank such criteria without chan­ging the respons­ib­il­ity for who performs redis­trict­ing.
  • There are six bills in three states that estab­lish redis­trict­ing prin­ciples without simul­tan­eously creat­ing a commis­sion.[14] Criteria for draw­ing districts include equal popu­la­tion, conti­gu­ity, compet­it­ive­ness, nest­ing, congru­ence with federal and state laws and consti­tu­tions, prohib­i­tions on dilut­ing the voting strength of minor­ity popu­la­tions, prohib­i­tions on draw­ing districts to favor or disfa­vor polit­ical parties or incum­bents, and preserving communit­ies of interest, among others. Several of the bills also outline mandates for trans­par­ency and public parti­cip­a­tion in the redis­trict­ing process.[15]

Redis­trict­ing Data

  • There is one bill intro­duced in one state that estab­lishes new proced­ures for the collec­tion of demo­graphic data, and mandates the construc­tion and integ­ra­tion of new data­bases with inform­a­tion about local district bound­ar­ies, voter regis­tra­tion and elec­tions.[16]

Trans­par­ency

  • Two bills have been intro­duced in two states to gener­ate greater trans­par­ency during the redis­trict­ing process, includ­ing required public hear­ings, comment peri­ods and adequate noti­fic­a­tions of hear­ings or changes to district lines.[17]

[1] Arkan­sas, Color­ado, Illinois, Indi­ana, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, North Caro­lina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia

[2] Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Texas, and Utah

[3] Arkan­sas, Color­ado, Illinois, Indi­ana, Maine, Minnesota, North Caro­lina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Texas

[4] Tech­nic­ally HF 1184 did not pass and was substi­tuted for SB 1589, which did pass and become public law.

[5] Pending bills are defined as bills that are currently pending in ongo­ing legis­lat­ive sessions, as well as bills in states where the legis­lat­ive session is over but the bills will be carried over into the 2014 session.

[6] Delaware, Geor­gia, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Caro­lina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Wash­ing­ton, and Wiscon­sin.

[7] Minnesota

[8] Delaware, Geor­gia, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Caro­lina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Wash­ing­ton, and Wiscon­sin

[9] Tennessee

[10] North Caro­lina

[11] Michigan

[12] Illinois

[13] Illinois and Rhode Island

[14] Illinois, Wash­ing­ton, and Wiscon­sin

[15] Delaware, Geor­gia, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wash­ing­ton, Wiscon­sin

[16] Pennsylvania

[17] Nebraska and New York