Compromise legislation to distance state senators from congressional and legislative redistricting decisions cleared the Legislature’s Executive Board Tuesday and was advanced to the floor for debate. The bill (LB580) creates an independent citizens commission to craft new districts that provide relative population parity following the 2020 census. The proposal is the product of almost two years of discussion and compromise by Sen. John Murante of Gretna, a Republican, and Sen. Heath Mello of Omaha, a Democrat. Under it, proposed redistricting plans would be submitted to the Legislature in 2021 for approval or disapproval. If a redistricting proposal were rejected by the Legislature, the commission would meet again to submit a revised plan. “That ensures that the Legislature and its staff would never be drawing the maps” that ultimately created the new districts, Mello said.
The legislative research office would be called upon early in the process to prepare maps at the direction of the commission.
The nine-member citizens commission would be composed of five members of one political party and four members of the other. The majority would be composed of members of the party that won the preceding gubernatorial election.
No party officials, officeholders or lobbyists would be eligible to serve on the commission.