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U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary Hearing on the "post - Shelby" Voting Rights Act.
U.S. House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the Voting Rights Act Post-Shelby. 



 Weekly Redistricting Wrap-Up  Mar 26, 2012
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  Redistricting  Arizona: Legislature Begrudgingly Approves $700K for Redistricting Commission, Threatens Lawsuit  

Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission Executive Director, Raymond Bladine
Photo: Arizona Capitol Times

On Wednesday state lawmakers approved a $700,000 appropriation for the Arizona Independent Redistricting commission after several weeks of wrangling. The funding comes up $400,000 short of the commission's actual request.

According to the commission's executive director, the $700,000 will only keep the commission's operations afloat for a couple of months but it won't cover items such as unpaid attorney fees, future legal fees and any substantial questions from the Justice Dept., which must approve the state's redistricting maps.

The commission is in the awkward position of needing money to defend its maps from lawsuits, one that could come from the very legislature that funds it. House speaker Andy Tobin has expressed his intention to "explore" a legal challenge against the commission's legislative map on equal population grounds.

The funding bill is now headed for Governor 
Jan Brewer's desk.


Republican's Begrudgingly Cast Enough Votes to Pass IRC Funding

   Arizona Lawmakers Approve More Money for Redistricting Commission as Republicans Criticize Panel  
  Redistricting Florida: In Redistricting When All Else Fails, Play Bingo  

Photo: Tampa Bay Times

On Thursday, Florida Senate passed a revised senate district map after the state Supreme Court declared it a partisan gerrymander under the state's constitution. 

The map fix involved changes to 24 of the 40 districts in total although the court invalidated 8 districts. While the orginal map paired no incumbents, the modified map creates two incumbent match-ups. 

The most notable fix to the map however was not the line changes but the lottery senators chose to use to determine the staggered terms for individual senators. The state Supreme Court had also declared the original maps district numbering system unconstitutional since it controlled the timing of incumbents re-election years and thus the length of their terms. State law imposes an 8 yr term-limit on senators, but under the original map most incumbents would have been able to serve longer.

The new senate map needed a way to assign district numbers randomly. That's where the Bingo machines come in. Senators held a lottery using Bingo machines on the chamber floor to accomplish the random number assignments. The result: 19 of 29 incumbents will still serve 8yr plus terms.


  Redistricting Fix Passed by Full Florida Senate  
  Lottery Style Drawing Caps Strange Day of Redistricting Debate   
   12 Senators Win in the Extended Term Lottery  
  Redistricting Wisconsin: Federal Court Orders Latino Districts   

On Thursday a panel of federal judges invalidated a state legislative map after finding that two districts in the Milwaukee area failed to create effective Latino majorities.
The Republican controlled legislature that approved the maps however, has now lost its majority in the senate after a Republican senator retired, deadlocking the senate between Democrats and Republicans. 

With the prospect of a much thornier legislative process for modifying the maps, lawmakers are deciding between convening another legislative session or passing the buck to the court. The candidate filing period begins on April 15th. 

  Judges Demand New Districts for Milwaukee Latinos  
   Panel Rules South Side Districts Must be Redrawn, Approves All Others