A measure just introduced in the state House of Representatives, HB824, would turn redistricting over to a professional staff. Legislators would have no say in how the maps were drawn and wouldn’t be able to witness the process. If approved the method wouldn’t be used until after the 2020 census. The bipartisan bill is sponsored by 14 Democrats and 9 Republicans and is based on the same method used in Iowa. Appearing at a press conference via video conferencing, Iowa Democratic Representative Vicki Lensing said there has been no constitutional challenge to the redrawn maps to this date.
The Iowa legislature made it a constitutional amendment but the North Carolina proposal would be a new statute. After the staff drew the maps Tar Heel lawmakers would only be allowed to vote them up or down with no amendments. If a third attempt at drawing the new lines failed then the work would revert to the lawmakers.
There is also a bill in the House, HB783, introduced by Republican Representative John Blust, that would create an independent commission to handle redistricting. His would be a constitutional amendment.
Currently Republican leaders are working on redistricting for this cycle the old fashioned way, which in the past has led to gerrymandering and odd shaped districts. Not to mention lawsuits. Joint redistricting committees have planned a series of public hearings around the state to get the public’s input on redistricting.