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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. 
           

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subscribe Weekly Redistricting Wrap-Up
Weekly Redistricting News                     June 10, 2011
 Go to your state's redistricting website Read Previous Redistricting Wrap-Ups  View Redistricting Commission Activity
 

It was a busy week in redistricting; the biggest news of course came out of California as the states' newly formed Citizens Redistricting Commission released its first draft maps. Take a look at the maps here.
 

 

 Redistricting Arkansas: "A Creepy Crawly Game".

 

The Alaska Redistricting Board approved a new legislative map this week amid fierce criticism by Democrats. Here is a quick sampling of their critiques:

·         The City of Fairbanks was split into separate senate districts;

·         The map forces two incumbent Democratic senators to run against each other;

·         It discriminates against the state’s only African-American legislator, Sen. Bettye Davis, D-Anchorage; and

·         The Board frequently met behind closed doors to hash out plan details  in violation of the state’s Open Meetings Act. 

 

At least one board member captured the complexity of the redistricting process and just how hard is to please every stakeholder in the process when she described it as ". . .this creepy crawly little game where you try to harm the state the least, you try to harm Natives the least."
Maps must be finalized by June 14
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View the Maps on the Board's site

 
• Democrats Blast Board's Redistricting Proposal  
   
 Redistricting Dallas: "Flim Flam" and Rage in Dallas  

 


Drawing maps can be particularly stressful as this Dallas commissioner can attest to. Watch as this angry lawmaker accuses her colleagues of an old-fashioned redistricting bait and switch
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Commissioner Slams Redistricting Map  
 
   
 Redistricting Maine  

 

Its rare when both the plaintiffs and the defendant in a lawsuit agree with each other completely. Its also rare when a judging panel announces their decision on the spot after oral argument, but Thursday a three-judge panel ruled that Maine must redraw its congressional districts before the 2012 elections despite what the state constitution says. That document calls for redrawing congressional boundaries by 2013.

The lawsuit was a typical malapportionment suit filed by two Maine residents and the state’s Attorney General’s Office was in the precarious position of agreeing with them. Only the state Democratic party intervened in disagreement. Maine is the only state that allows congressional districts to be redrawn beyond two years after the census. Another rarity that is no longer

 
• Court Says Maine's Congressional Districts Must be Redrawn  
   
 Redistricting Nevada  

Governor Sandoval confirmed on Thursday that he would not be seeking a special session of the legislature to tackle congressional redistricting. After twice vetoing the legislature’s congressional maps, Sandoval released a statement nixing a special session and effectively throwing the task to the courts.

 

Assembly leaders explained that since lawsuits have been initiated on both sides, lawmakers have been encouraged by counsel not to enter into dialogues about redistricting, thus a special session would have been fruitless. 
 
Sandoval to Leave Redistricting to the Courts  
   
 Redistricting South Carolina  


The House Judiciary committee met on Monday to finalize the first congressional map to split Spartanburg and Greenville counties in 90 years. Two new competing maps were introduced on Monday as well. One would include Greenville in one district and divide Spartanburg between two, the other places each county in its own congressional district.

 

The full house will debate the maps next week as the legislative session wraps up, however the senate will have its own version of congressional districts that it will consider as well. South Carolina gained a seventh seat after the 2010 census. Republicans currently hold five of the six current seats in congress.

 

The respective houses must also pass assembly and senate district maps. Most notably, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a senate map for the states’ 46 senatorial districts this week that eliminated a majority black district. Despite protest from the ACLU- which wanted to maintain the district and add a new one, senate leaders maintained that the map will survive DOJ scrutiny. They are considering submitting the map to the D.C. Federal District Court instead of the Justice Dept for preclearance review.

 
 
• Lawmakers Fight to Keep Upstate's Largest Counties Intact in Redistricting   
• SC Senators Adopt New Senate Seat District Lines, Reject Call for New Minority District  
 
 
 Redistricting Texas  



 
On Monday, in special session, the Texas senate approved a congressional map poised to protect each of the state’s Republican incumbents and potentially gain a seat by dismantling Democratic U.S. Rep. Llyod Doggett’s district.

The map moved to the House Redistricting Committee Thursday and after some minor tweaks, was approved by a party line vote. Democratic lawmakers have told the press that they have filed suit over the map
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Redistricting Map on its Way to Texas House   
• Lawsuit Looms Over Doggett District Map   
   
 Redistricting Virginia  
 

A Republican led House and Democratic senate approved two separate congressional maps on Thursday. Both houses rejected the others proposals on Thursday and a conference committee has been formed to negotiate a compromise.

 

The crux of the conflict between the two maps centers around the creation of a second majority black district in the Richmond area. The House map does not do this and the senate map does.

Many lawmakers are divided on whether merely maintaining the existing minority district could potentially violate the Voting Rights Act or if adding the second minority would. This is because the existing minority district, represented by U.S. Rep. Robert “Bobby” Scott currently has a black population of 56.4%.

 

To get the second minority district lawmakers had to reduce Scott’s black population to 42%, although the congressman tells the Washington Times that he is comfortable with that and believes he can win reelection with those numbers. The legal question remains however as to whether the proposed shift in black population would amount to “retrogression” under the Act.
 
Virginia Legislative Houses Approve Conflicting Redistricting Plans  
   
   
 Redistricting Washington D.C.  

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The D.C. Council met on Tuesday and approved a revised ward map that places most of Capitol Hill East back into ward 6. This move allayed the concerns of residents detailed in last week’s redistricting wrap-up.

Ward 7 still crosses the Anacostia River, but only to retrieve the 2,000 resident-inmates of the prison and an uninhabited parcel of the waterfront in the current ward 6. Councilmember Marion Barry was the lone dissenting vote on the revised map. He threatened going to the Justice Dept. should the map stand.  A final vote is scheduled for June 21, at 10am. 
 
D.C. Council Approves Boundary Changes