Lawmakers from both parties Tuesday renewed their effort to take politics out of one of their most politically charged jobs – redistricting. And advocates say they’re optimistic despite the continued opposition of leaders in the state Senate, where earlier efforts have died. “Realistically it’s an uphill battle,” said Jane Pinsky, director of the Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform. “We hope that the legislators will … not remain confident that just because they’re in charge now or just because they were in charge 10 years ago that they’re going to be in charge in 2020.” Legislative and congressional districts currently are drawn every 10 years by legislators. As a result, critics say those districts typically favor the party in power, result in less competition and therefore fewer moderates who have to answer to a broader constituency. Last year nearly half of the state’s 170 legislative seats were uncontested.
More than two dozen supporters of independent redistricting heard lawmakers outline two proposals Tuesday. Either would make North Carolina the 22nd state with some kind of independent redistricting.
One bill, sponsored by Republican and Democratic House members, is modeled on an Iowa plan that lets lawmakers vote on redistricting plans drafted by legislative staffers. It would take effect for the next redistricting after the 2020 census.