NC group: Panel, not lawmakers, should draw districts
Posted May 29, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — People who want to take the politics out of the process of drawing congressional and legislative districts every decade pushed their plans at the State Capitol Tuesday.
The North Carolina Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform wants the state Senate to pass legislation that would have the General Assembly's non-partisan professional staff, instead of lawmakers, redraw legislative and congressional districts.
Speakers who urged passage of the bill Tuesday included former state GOP chairman William Cobey, UNC law professor Gene Nichol, Rev. Earl Johnson, chairman of the Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association, and Richard Harkrader, CEO of Durham-based Carolina Solar Energy.
The state House approved the measure 88-27 last year. The bill is sponsored by two Democrats and two Republicans.
The bill would direct the General Assembly's Legislative Service Office to draw the maps behind closed doors without partisan influence and following certain redistricting principles. Lawmakers could take over the process if they reject the first three plans.
That method is based on a procedure that the state of Iowa has used for four redistricting rounds.