|Senate Counsel & Research||State of Minnesota|
|S.F. No. 1810 - Nonpartisan Redistricting Process|
|Author:||Senator Geoff Michel|
|Prepared by:||Peter S. Wattson, Senate Counsel (651/296-3812)|
|Date:||January 10, 2008|
Section 1 defines various terms used in the bill.
Section 2 requires the directors and the Revisor to prepare for redistricting by acquiring the necessary equipment and information, though no money may be spent for equipment or materials without prior legislative approval. Census geography must be acquired by December 31 of each year ending in zero, and population counts must be acquired from the Census Bureau as soon as possible after January 1 in each year ending in one.
Section 3 requires the directors and the Revisor to deliver to the Secretary of the Senate and Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives redistricting plans for the legislature and congress no later than April 1 of each year ending in one, except that if population data is not received by February 1, the April 1 deadline is postponed a day for each day receipt is delayed. (Population data is normally received toward the end of March, so the deadline would normally slide toward the end of May.)
The legislative and congressional plans must be in the same bill, unless congressional population data is received before legislative population data, in which case the congressional plan may be put into a separate bill if so directed by the presiding officers of the Senate and the House.
The Legislature must act on the bill within seven days after the Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission created by section 5 has acted under section 6 to hold at least three public hearings in different geographic regions of the State and delivered to the Secretary of the Senate and the Chief Clerk of the House a report summarizing what the commission learned at the hearings. The bill is not subject to amendment until two bills have been defeated and the directors and the Revisor have presented the Legislature with a third bill. After a bill has been defeated, the house that defeated it may choose to inform the directors and the Revisor of the reasons why the bill was not approved; if so, the next bill must take those reasons into account.
The second bill must be delivered to the Secretary of the Senate and the Chief Clerk of the House no later than May 1 of the year ending in one, or 21 days after the previous bill was defeated, whichever is later. The deadline for the third bill is June 1 of the year ending in one, or 21 days after the second bill was defeated, whichever is later.
Section 4 establishes standards for redistricting plans.
Subdivision 1 sets standards for population equality. Senate and House plans must have an overall range of no more than five percent and a mean deviation of no more than one percent. The congressional plan must have an overall range of no more than one percent and the population of each district must be as near to ideal as practicable. The Legislature has the burden of justifying any deviation greater than one percent in any district.
Subdivision 2 requires the number of cities and counties divided between districts to be as few as possible, with preference given to dividing units with larger populations.
Subdivision 3 requires that all districts be composed of convenient contiguous territory (a requirement the Constitution applies only to Senate districts), and disqualifies point contiguity.
Subdivision 4 requires districts to be compact, as measured by both their geometry and their population. The ideal geometric form is a square. The most compact population is one that is closest to the geometric center of the district.
Subdivision 5 prohibits drawing a district for the purpose of favoring any person or group or to augment or dilute the voting strength of a racial or language minority group. It also prohibits the use of election results or any demographic information other than population head counts, except as required by federal law.
Subdivision 6 requires House districts to be nested within Senate districts. It also requires Senate districts to be nested within congressional districts so far as possible. (Iowa, whose law this bill is based on, has 100 House districts, 50 Senate districts, and five congressional districts. In this decade, since Iowa lost a congressional seat, they are all nested.)
Subdivision 7 requires that a special election held in the year ending in one use the old district boundaries.
Section 5 creates a Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission in each year ending in one. The four caucus leaders each appoint a member and those four select a fifth member to serve as chair. An appointee may not hold a partisan or political party office and may not be a relative or employee of a member of the Legislature or of Congress or an employee of the Legislature or of Congress.
Section 6 requires the commission to be available to answer questions posed by the directors and the Revisor when their duties under the law are not clear and to prescribe policies for providing information about a plan before the bill proposing it is delivered to the Secretary of the Senate and the Chief Clerk of the House. After delivery of the bill, the commission must make information about it available to the public, conduct at least three regional public hearings on the bill, and report what they have learned from the hearings to the Secretary of the Senate and the Chief Clerk of the House.
A table showing the redistricting principles used by each of the 50 States in the 1990s is attached. It is Table 5 from Redistricting Law 2000, NCSL (Feb. 1999) <http://www.senate.mn/departments/scr/redist/Red2000/Ch3part2.htm#Table%205>. The Web version includes links to the text of those principles.
cc: Peter Brickwedde
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