Two U.S. House reps plan to introduce redistricting legislation

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January 27, 2011

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Two Representatives in Congress have introduced legislation that would impact redistricting at the state-level. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) and Jim Cooper (D-TN) each plan to put a bill on the floor of the House. Shuler's bill would require each state to put redistricting in the hands of a five-member commission, in much the same structure as Arizona.[1] Cooper's bill would require each state to create a website to solicit input on the redistricting process. Maps would be required to be posted 10 days before a vote on their adoption, according to Cooper's bill.[2]

Cooper's bill -- co-sponsored by 19 other Democrats -- is called the Redistricting Transparency Act. "Democrats and Republicans have been in cahoots about this for decades. The political map-drawers know how to split neighborhoods, houses, and even, in theory, double beds. This abuse of the one-person, one-vote principle enables politicians to draw districts so bizarre that you need a GPS device to locate them," Cooper said.[3]

Shuler's legislation -- the Fairness and Independence in Redistricting Act -- would not take effect until the 2020 redistricting. Cooper's plan would go into effect immediately.[4]

Republicans will be in charge of redistricting in Tennessee for the first time in state history.[5]

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