Under the Dome

Nonpartisan redistricting proposed

A bipartisan proposal to change how the state draws legislative and congressional districts, which is based on Iowa's redistricting process, will be considered in the House this year.

The proposal would have nonpartisan legislative staff draw districts that legislators would accept or reject.

The aim is to take partisan politics out of redistricting, cut down on lawsuits, save money, and work efficiently.

Iowa is close to approving its new maps. North Carolina has barely gotten started. The proposal is supported by a N.C. Coalition for Lobbying & Government Reform, a group of individuals and organizations representing a wide range of ideologies.

"John Hood is right on this," said Chris Fitzsimon, director of the left-leaning N.C. Policy Watch.

"Chris is wrong, but not on this," said Hood, president of the conservative John Locke Foundation. "Representative government is impossible if voters can't elect representatives of their choice," he said.

Legislators are deeply involve in drawing districts. Republicans this year say they are going to draw fair and legal districts, but redistricting is frequently an opportunity for the majority party to exercise its advantage.

Previous efforts to have a commission draw political lines have gone nowhere.

The Iowa way has legislative staff, who are not allowed to talk to legislators while they're drawing districts, do the plans.

Two Iowa House members appeared via Skype at a news conference today, saying the process has worked well.

Rep. David Lewis, a Harnett Republican and chairman of the House Elections Committee, said the committee would consider the bill.

"This is an excellent road map, an excellent first step," he said.

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