The Senate on Wednesday approved a bill ordering independent redistricting of the state’s legislative districts. The proposal received 12 votes in support and seven against, with one member not voting and one absent.The measure now goes to the House. Senate Bill 27 would create an independent nine-member commission to redraw legislative district lines every 10 years. The process is currently overseen by the General Assembly, which critics say can lead to gerrymandering. The commission would give at least three political parties representation and allow members of the public to serve. Applicants would initially be selected by a panel of judges, with the secretary of state then randomly choosing nine names.
Commission members would be barred from running for office in the following election and from lobbying with the General Assembly or Congress for five years.
Supporters claim the measure will largely remove politics from the redistricting process, preventing lawmakers from drawing themselves safer districts or fitting several members of the minority party into one district.