During the 2015 legislative session, 152 bills regarding redistricting laws were considered in 34 states and Puerto Rico. Thirty-eight of these bills from 16 states related to constitutional amendments. These addressed topics such as commissions, public input, criteria for redistricting, prisoner allocation and other topics.
The most common topic for legislation in 2015 dealt with the redistricting process. There were 104 bills dealing with redistricting commissions or the process of drawing the district lines by state legislatures. Of those, 86 dealt with the establishment of a commission, a change in the commission makeup, or the criteria to be used by the commission. The remaining 16 bills addressed criteria for redistricting by the legislature, or redrew district lines. Of note, Indiana established a study committee to review its redistricting process.
Two bills addressed how the public could provide input during the redistricting process. (See Oregon’s enacted legislation below.) Fifteen bills addressed prisoner allocation, either relating to data collection or residency classification for purposes of drawing district lines.
Three bills addressed the courts, including the Texas enacted bill (see below) and a Pennsylvania bill giving specified courts the power to draw district lines. Further, 20 bills sought to make technical adjustments to district lines, or to the redistricting process.
Six states and Puerto Rico enacted legislation addressing various redistricting issues.
Arizona HB 2595 (Technical Adjustment): Details that if the congressional district lines that are in effect at the 2016 presidential preference election are different from the congressional district lines used in the 2014 general election, the results of the 2016 presidential preference election are not required to be tabulated by congressional districts.
Georgia HB 566 (Commissions): Revises the boundaries of certain state house districts.
Idaho SB 1091 (Courts): Allows any registered voter, incorporated city or county to appeal to the Supreme Court a congressional or legislative redistricting plan adopted by the Reapportionment Commission, so long as it is within the appropriate time and manner as prescribed by rule.
Indiana HB 1003 (Studies): Establishes the special interim study committee on redistricting to evaluate the benefits and issues that would need to be addressed if a change in the method for establishing districts for the election of members of the General Assembly and members of Congress from Indiana were made.
Oregon HB 2974 (Public Input): Requires the Legislative Assembly to hold 10 public hearings throughout the state before proposing congressional or legislative reapportionment plans with at least one hearing held in each congressional district of the state. Requires the Legislative Assembly or Secretary of State to hold five public hearings after a reapportionment plan is proposed but before a plan is adopted. Requires that notice and provision for public testimony through use of video equipment be provided at all apportionment hearings.
Puerto Rico HB 1073 (Technical Adjustment): Creates the Redistricting Law and Tax Charge Adjustment for purposes of meeting a fair, proportional, integrated and responsible fiscal crisis which crosses the Government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, protecting credit of the government and addresses the structural deficit in compliance with the constitutional mandate.
Texas SB 455 (Courts): Creates a special three-judge district court to hear any suit in which a state officer or agency is a defendant in a claim that challenges the finances or operations of this state's public school system or involves the apportionment of districts for the House of Representatives, the Senate, the State Board of Education, the U.S. Congress or state judicial districts.
About This NCSL Project
Redistricting is the process of redrawing state legislative and congressional district boundaries every 10 years following the decennial U.S. Census. NCSL helps prepare legislatures and others for the redistricting cycle with comprehensive information on redistricting law, technology and process.
For more information, contact: Ben Williams, NCSL Staff Liaison.