Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Friday, May 1, 2015

Redistricting Reform Act of 2015 introduced in Congress!

On Thursday, 15 Members of Congress introduced the Redistricting Reform Act of 2015 in the House of Representatives.

The bill will require States to conduct Congressional Redistricting through Independent Commissions and sets forth a framework for ending the two-century old practice of gerrymandering. From Common Cause:
The Redistricting Reform Act of 2015 includes:
- Requirement that every state establish an independent, multi-party redistricting commission to draw Congressional district maps.
- Prohibition against allowing individuals with conflicts of interests – such as lobbyists, political donors or party operatives – to serve on the commissions.
- Requirement that commissions reflect the diversity of the state and operate transparently.
- Criteria for drawing districts, mandating that they:
        • have equal population in accordance with the U.S. Constitution;
        • comply with the Voting Rights Act of 1965;
  • be geographically contiguous and compact, as well as have boundaries that minimize the division of any community of interest, municipality, county, or neighborhood.
  • - Ample notice from the commission and opportunity for the public to provide input and engage in the redistricting process.

The 15 sponsors are all Democrats. Only one member of the Arizona delegation signed on so far, Raul Grijalva (D-Arizona's Third District).

Normally, this is where we see reporters or pundits write off a proposal put forth only by Democrats because both chambers of Congress are controlled by Republicans. And that's what happened in a USA Today story by Susan Davis.
With Republicans in control of both chambers of Congress, the Democrats' bill is unlikely to gain momentum unless it can bring on GOP sponsors and support. While gerrymandering has critics in both parties, Republicans are unlikely to support weakening the states' role in the process.
But Ms. Davis takes it a step farther by characterizing this proposal as "weakening the states' role in the process." That, of course, is complete bullshit. This proposal only weakens the elected state legislatures' roles in the process, but it dramatically strengthens the role of the PEOPLE of each state in the process.

I don't know what is in the constitutions of all 50 states, but I do know about Arizona. Article 2, Section 2 says,
All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights. 
The Redistricting Reform Act of 2015 addresses the long-standing and deeply-ingrained problem of gerrymandering and has the power to make moot any adverse decision the Supreme Court might hand down in Arizona Legislature v AZ Independent Redistricting Commission.

Therefore, while the GOP-controlled Congress may be reluctant to enact redistricting reform, we have learned quite well over the last few years that citizen action can rise to a level to compel Congress to act and to do so appropriately. [Consider the 2014 scandal in the Veterans Health Administration]

At this time, I strongly recommend each reader call AND write their Congressional representative to assert the request that each of them sign on as co-sponsors and enthusiastically support passage of the Redistricting Reform Act of 2015.

In fact, I also invite each of you to sign my petition on Change.org calling for passage of this bill. Here's some lawmakers in North Carolina talking about a reform measure before that legislature.



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Today it is a case of the grasshopper pitted against the elephant. But tomorrow the elephant will have its guts ripped out. Le Loi, Vietnamese emperor, 15th Century.

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