State lawmakers on Saturday released a new map showing how they want to redraw state House districts. The proposed map comes after courts ruled that 2011 election maps for the state House and Senate included unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. State Rep. David Lewis, a Harnett County Republican who co-chairs the legislature’s joint redistricting committee, said new Senate maps will likely be released on Sunday. Public hearings are scheduled for Tuesday and Lewis hopes the House will vote on his plan on Friday. “The next step is members of the General Assembly and interested members of the public can look at them and offer suggestions,” Lewis said in a phone interview Saturday.
Republicans hold supermajorities in both the House and Senate, with 74 of the 120 House seats and 35 of the 50 Senate seats. Their numbers allow them to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes. If Republicans lost three House seats they would lose their veto-proof majority.
The legislature is responsible for drawing legislative and congressional districts every 10 years based on census data. The governor has no role in approving district maps.
District lines are key factors in influencing elections. Democrats have complained for years that Republicans drew unfair lines in an attempt to secure legislative control. Republicans made similar arguments when Democrats controlled the legislature.