Update on the 2011 Reapportionment and Redistricting
COMMITTEE ON EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
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10:05 AM -- Update on the 2011 Reapportionment and Redistricting
Jerry Barry, Office of Legislative Legal Services, and Suzanne Keim, Legislative Council Staff, provided an update on reapportionment and redistricting for 2011 (Attachment B). Mr. Barry reviewed the timeline for the 2010 census, congressional redistricting, and noted some of the challenges of redistricting if political parties move up the dates of their party caucuses leading up to a presidential election year. He specifically noted that a special session might be required for the 2011 redistricting. He noted the challenges in soliciting public comment during a special session due to the short length of such a session and suggested that the legislature could mirror the process the reapportionment commission uses by establishing an interim committee to solicit public comment and hold meetings across the state prior to the special session.
He continued his comments, explaining the makeup of the reapportionment commission, which includes legislative members and nonlegislative members appointed by the Governor and the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court. He stated that the reapportionment commission will most likely begin meeting at the end of the 2011 legislative session. He noted the staffing and scheduling challenges with such a schedule.
Suzanne Keim, Legislative Council Staff, reviewed the preparation necessary for the 2011 redistricting and reapportionment process. She explained that there are three software options for use in the redistricting process: Maptitude, Citygate, and a Florida model that may be used free of charge, but does not provide technical support. Mr. Barry explained that OLLS and LCS are seeking clarification on whether they should consult with the political parties as they consider the software to be selected. President Shaffer replied that the committee grants OLLS and LCS permission to consult with the state committee parties, specifically with the committee chairs of the Democratic and Republican parties. Ms. Keim continued her presentation, noting that in the last redistricting cycle, each member had access to a software license, and asked if it would be appropriate to limit the number of licenses. She explained that the request for information (RFI) should be sent out during this interim.
Representative May also noted that there he expects will be a ballot initiative proposing to change the redistricting and reapportionment process. Ms. Keim continued her remarks, noting the availability of software to allow members of the public to draw plans, and asked if she should find out the costs for doing so. President Shaffer requested that LCS research the cost of making software available to the public online.
Mr. Barry reviewed Senate Bill 00-119 (Attachment C), which was the last bill that the General Assembly passed regarding redistricting, noting the specific components of the bill. Mr. Barry requested permission to begin drafting the bill for the 2011 redistricting, explaining that he would bring the draft to the committee at a later date. Representative Weissmann asked about the appropriation for funding. Representative May noted that the funds used in 2000 are not available now for funding this program. Representative May explained the potential ballot initiative would change the redistricting process, which would include appointing authority from legislature, the governor, and the Ethics Commission. He noted that the stakeholders are working with Common Cause, the League of Women Voters, and the courts to bring the ballot initiative.