Republican leaders in the Arizona Legislature are pushing a proposal to dramatically overhaul the independent commission that draws congressional and legislative maps every decade. Redistricting is important because it can decide which party gets the majority of congressional and state legislative seats. It is a contentious issue nationwide. Senate President Steve Yarbrough’s proposal would expand the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission from five to eight members, all appointed by the Legislature. Three would be Democrats, three Republicans and two independents.
“My great hope is that this is going to result in a necessity that we get bipartisan maps,” Yarbrough said. “Because those two independents are highly likely to be partisan independents, if there is such a thing. You effectively have two groups of four – they’re going to have to come together and compromise to get to five.”
He pointed to commissions in 2001 and 2011 that he said were essentially controlled by the one independent, who could side with either Democrats or Republicans to sway the process.