Bill Summary for H 69 (2019-2020)
|View NCGA Bill Details||2019-2020 Session|
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A NONPARTISAN REDISTRICTING PROCESS.Intro. by Reives, McGrady, Hardister, B. Turner.
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Enacts Article 1B, Nonpartisan Redistricting, to GS Chapter 120.
Enacts GS 120-4.51, setting forth ten defined terms.
Enacts GS 120-4.54, establishing the Nonpartisan Redistricting Commission (Commission), consisting of 11 registered voters from the specified parties serving four-year terms. Provides for member nominations by the four appointing authorities (President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the Senate minority leader, the Speaker of the House, and the House minority leader) and appointment by random selection by the Office of the State Auditor. Prohibits service for more than three consecutive full terms. Establishes eligibility criteria, excluding from eligibility: (1) individuals who have, or have a relative who has, within five years of appointment, been appointed, elected, or a candidate for any elective public office, been appointed to a State board or commission, served as an officer or executive committee members of a political party, served as an officer, paid employee, or paid consultant of a candidate's campaign committee, or been a registered lobbyist; (2) individuals who are General Assembly or Congress employees, consultants, or contractors; and (3) individuals having a financial relationship with the Governor. Further, places restrictions on Commission members for five years after service on the Commission from being appointed to a State board or commission; serving as an officer or executive committee member of a political party; serving as an officer, paid employee, or paid consultant of a candidate's campaign committee; or registering as a lobbyist. Limits the duties of the Commission to those prescribed by GS 120-4.58, as enacted.
Enacts GS 120-4.55, setting forth administration provisions regarding chair selection, vacancies, quorum, and member expenses.
Enacts GS 120-4.56, requiring record-keeping, as specified, by the Commission of any files, documents or other information submitted to the Commission or any Commission member. Declares such records are public. Further, directs the Commission to adopt procedures for each Commission member to document verbal conversations with individuals holding public office or declared candidates, and specifies minimum information that must be documented.
Enacts GS 120-4.57, providing for the staffing and offices of the Commission. Authorizes the Commission to employ staff, including consultants and legal representation, and authorizes the Commission to contract for other expertise as needed. Provides for Commission staff confidentiality. Houses the Commission within the Department of Administration, but explicitly states the Commission's independent operation.
Enacts GS 120-4.58, setting forth the five duties of the Commission, as:
- Preparing proposed plans for revising the senate and representative districts;
- Preparing proposed plans for the election of US House members;
- Preparing proposed plans in the event that a plan passed by the General Assembly is held invalid;
- Maintaining meeting notes and work documentation; and
- Maintaining a website or online platform to disseminate Commission information, including public access to live and archived meetings and hearings and public submissions to the Commission.
Enacts GS 120-4.61, providing for the Commission's preparations for redistricting. Directs the Commission to obtain federal census population data from the Census Bureau by December 31 of each year ending in zero, and use the data to prepare descriptions and maps of geographic and political units, as specified. Requires the Commission to obtain from the Census Bureau, as soon as possible after January 1 of each year ending in one, population data necessary and use the data to assign a population figure to geographic and political units for congressional and legislative redistricting. Requires the Commission to begin preparing the proposed plans upon receipt of the population data, consistent and compliant with GS 120-4.62 and GS 120-4.64, as enacted. Requires the Commission to conduct at least 21 public hearings throughout the State before submitting a proposed plan and at least 10 after releasing any proposed plan, providing for racial and language minority participation, as specified. Requires the Commission to release any data used to create a proposed plan when preparing for submission. Further, requires the Commission to provide terminals for the public to access the data and associated software. Allows any member of the public to submit maps for consideration, and declares the submissions public record, open to public comment.
Enacts GS 120-4.62, requiring the Commission to submit, not later than April 1 of each year ending in one, a proposed plan for revising the senate and representative districts and for election of US House members. Requires a vote of at least eight Commission members, and further requires affirmative votes from at least two members of each of the three categories of membership. Provides for an extension of this deadline if the federal census population data and the geographic encoding and referencing data file are unavailable to the Commission on or before February 15 of a year ending in one. Requires a successfully voted proposed plan to be delivered to the principal clerks of both chambers along with the companion maps, summary of standards for development, and district population statements.
Enacts GS 120-4.63, requiring a member of the General Assembly to file a bill embodying the submitted proposed plan from the Commission within three legislative days after receipt. Intends the bills be brought to a vote in the house where it was filed no less than three legislative days after filing, and upon passing third reading, brought to the second house expeditiously. Requires the bill be voted under a procedure or rule only allowing for corrective amendments. If the bill fails approval, allows the respective house to direct the reasoning by resolution to the Commission. Upon failure to pass second or third reading in either house, the Commission is required to submit a second proposed plan within 35 calendar days after the vote by which a chamber failed to approve the bill, following the specified procedures. Similarly to the first proposed plan, requires a member of the General Assembly to file a bill embodying the second proposed plan within three legislative days of receipt by the principal clerks, and the bill to move through the chambers expeditiously and under a procedure or rule only allowing for corrective amendments. Provides for the same procedure if the second proposed plan fails to be enacted, with the Commission being required to submit a third proposed plan within 35 calendar days of the vote by which a chamber failed to approve the second proposed plan bill. Prescribes the same time period for voting as above; however, allows amendments in the same manner as other bills.
Enacts GS 120-4.64, setting forth redistricting standards relating to ideal populations for districts, whole county requirements, the maintenance of convenient contiguous territories, and reasonable compactness parameters. Prohibits the Commission from drawing a district for the purpose of favoring a political party, incumbent legislator or Congress member, or other person or group or for the purpose of augmenting or diluting the strength of a language or racial minority. Further prohibits the Commission from making use of political affiliations of registered voters, previous election results, demographic information (other than population head counts), and the location of incumbents' residences.
Requires the four selecting authorities to prepare the prescribed list of Commission nominees by March 1, 2020, with the goal of representing the State's diversity. Requires the Office of the State Auditor to randomly select initial Commission members by April 1, 2020, as specified, for initial terms ranging from three to five years.
Applies to redistricting following the return of the 2020 federal decennial census and thereafter.