Bill Summaries: H495 (2021)

  • Summary date: Apr 6 2021 - View summary

    Includes whereas clauses. Sets out the following requirements for revising districts and the apportionment among those districts of members of the NCGA House and Senate and US House of Representatives, following the return of the 2020 federal decennial census.

    Give priority to baseline criteria over all other redistricting criteria. Provides that baseline criteria refers to the following, set out in order of priority. (1) Equal population, requiring each member of each body to represent, as nearly as may be, an equal number of inhabitants, with the ideal population being the State's population divided by the number of members in a plan for the NCGA House, Senate, or US House. (2) Population deviation, which for Congress, population from ideal is zero or one person, unless a higher deviation is needed for a compelling State interest associated with the baseline, and for NCGA House or Senate, population deviation cannot exceed 10% while population deviation from ideal must not exceed 5% (defines both total population deviation and population deviation from ideal in the act). (3) Contiguity, which requires all districts to be contiguous, specifying that to the extent practicable, areas within a district should be easily accessible to one another without requiring travel through another district. (4) County groupings, which requires legislative districts to be drawn within county groups; prohibits crossing county lines within county groupings, except as authorized in the referenced court decisions. (5) Political boundaries, requiring all districts to minimize the number of split precincts and municipalities. (6) Communities of interest, requiring minimizing the number of split communities of interest, defined as geographically contiguous areas of cohesive populations of people that share common social, cultural, and economic interests that should be included within a single district for purposes of their effective, fair, and equitable representation. (7) Compactness, requiring reasonable efforts to ensure that all districts are compact; sets out measures that are to be used in assessing compactness.

    Sets out the following additional criteria. Prohibits making an effort to create a district favorable or unfavorable to any candidate. Prohibits making an effort to maintain or establish an electoral advantage for any party in any plan; prohibits advantaging a political party beyond the most common seat distribution for that plan, except by no more than one district for a congressional plan, no more than two districts for the NCGA Senate, and no more than three districts for the NCGA House. Allows election results data from 2016 and after for Council of State, President, and US Senate to be used only as part of an ensemble analysis of an entire plan, prohibiting using the data to provide any party a disproportionate number of seats in a plan and prohibits using a composite index of election results. Requires a the third-party consultant to produce 10 rank-ordered marginal histograms that show typical vote fractions of all districts in each plan from the district that favors each political party the most to the district that favors each political party the least. Requires the plans to be evaluated based on elections from each general election in at least the previous 10 years for Council of State, President, and US Senate, with different statewide vote counts. Requires a third-party consultant to analyze all districting plans for their probable partisan effects prior to their adoption by any NCGA committee or enactment by the NCGA; sets out analyses and evidence that must be produced by the consultant. Sets out the metrics that must be used in performing the required analysis. Makes the related information no longer confidential and now a public record when a member, committee, officer, or employee of the NCGA hires or consults with any person or entity not employed by the NCGA on the realignment of districts for any plan; requires publishing, within 24 hours, the name of the entity and all communications with that entity. Requires that if any NCGA member, committee, officer, or employee receives a plan to realign districts from any person or entity that is not a member of or employed by the NCGA, within 24 hours, the plan and the name of the person or entity that provided the plan must be published. Specifies that any attorney-client privilege, confidentiality, or other privilege that exists between any member, committee, officer, or employee of the NCGA and any person or entity, including any attorney, regarding the realignment of districts pursuant to this act, dissolves when act establishing the relevant district plan becomes law.

  • Summary date: Apr 5 2021 - View summary

    To be summarized.