Support for reforming the way the state’s political maps are drawn is getting bi-partisan support in the State House. A bill to make those changes has 63 co-sponsors, but that far from guarantees it will be passed. The bill is the third attempt by the House since 2011 to put the responsibility for drawing congressional maps in the hands of a non-partisan panel. That power now lies with the lawmakers themselves, which many observers see as a conflict of interest. Jane Pinsky is director of the non-partisan group End Gerrymandering Now. She says she’s encouraged that so many have signed on to the House Bill, but says it still faces an uphill battle in the Senate.
“The House passed the same legislation in 2011 and was ready to pass it again in 2013, but the Senate said then as they say now that they would not consider it, and we think it’s going to take a lot of public pressure to convince the Senate to take look at this legislation.”
The redistricting reform bill was sponsored by Republican Representative Paul ‘Skip’ Stam, a long-time critic of partisan redistricting going back to when the legislature was controlled by Democrats.