Tag Archives: Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission

Thank God it’s Sine Die!

The Arizona legislature adjourned around 12:26 a.m. Friday morning. This farce is finally over.

The AP reports, Arizona Legislature closes session with big issues undone:

The Arizona Legislature adjourned its 2018 session early Friday, leaving without taking action on two of Gov. Doug Ducey’s biggest initiatives of the year, a water policy overhaul and an ambitious school safety proposal (called it!) that fell victim to concerns about the civil rights of gun owners.

The March for Our Lives student led movement for gun safety can now turn its organizational skills and energy to defeating the legislators who thwarted their efforts to save students lives in the election this November.

The Republican-controlled Legislature also failed to repeal a contentious school voucher expansion law that is set to be on the November ballot after opponents of the 2017 measure gathered enough signatures last summer to block its implementation. The fate of the voucher expansion was caught up in a momentous push by public school teachers who rose up in early March and eventually went on strike, forcing the Republican governor and lawmakers to award them with big raises and more school funding in the budget, although not enough to meet the demands of teachers who are ending a six-day strike and heading back to class on Friday.

Republican Sens. Kate Brophy McGee and Bob Worsley both went on record Thursday opposing any repeal, with Worsley calling the issue “kryptonite” and Brophy McGee simply saying “it needs to go to the ballot.” With all Democrats opposed, there was no way it could pass the Senate.

“The huge grassroots group, and I’ve talked to them multiple times, checked with them multiple tomes, they’re willing to take it to the ballot,” Brophy McGee said. “That’s where they want it to go.”

“It’s honoring the people who got it to the ballot,” Brophy McGee said, noting that opponents of expansion of the voucher program gathered more than 100,000 signatures.

Teachers and other education advocates banded together as Save Our Schools Arizona and gathered more than 100,000 signatures to block the universal voucher bill last summer, a move that kept it from taking effect until voters statewide could weigh in.

They argued that private school vouchers siphoned money from the state’s cash-strapped public schools, while backers said they give parents a choice about where their children attend school.

There has been talk all session of majority Republicans repealing or replacing it to negate the ballot measure.

The organizational skills and energy of the #RedforEd movement of the past few weeks can now turn to the campaign for the Prop. 305 referendum and defeating all of those legislators who voted for this “vouchers on steroids” bill and the governor who signed it. You will be needed to offset the massive dark money campaign coming from the “Kochtopus” school privatization forces, and the Center for Arizona Policy and the American Federation for Children.

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Hollace Lyon Sounds Alarm Over Redistricting Threat

Candidate Hollace Lyon points out that SCR1034 overturns the voters' will in a 2000 ballot initiative to take away redistricting power away from the Legislature

Candidate Hollace Lyon points out that SCR1034 overturns the voters’ will in a 2000 ballot initiative to take away redistricting power from the Legislature

Arizona could be Gerrymandered into mostly Republican voting districts because of a dangerous GOP bill — SCR1034 — which has passed the AZ Senate and is awaiting action in the state House.

“Write and call your representatives that you want to stop SCR 1034 because it’s incompatible with citizen rights,” said Hollace Lyon, a Democratic Candidate for House in LD11. “If it were to pass, we would really be at peril,” she says.

The bill would pack the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (“AIRC”) with three additional people, handpicked by the majority Republicans with no proper screening or nomination process.

The AIRC draws voting district boundaries following the law, which requires equal populations, respect of communities of interest, geographic compactness and contiguity, respect for visible geographic features like highways, and competitive districts.

Lyon, a retired Air Force Air Force Colonel, spoke at Gerrymandering? Let’s call it what it is: Cheating! sponsored by The Arizona Ground Game civic organization. Continue reading

AZ Senate approves evil GOP plan to undermine the AIRC

Last month I warned you the Evil GOP bastards are trying to negate the AIRC so the legislature does redistricting maps again.

Yesterday the evil GOP bastards in the Senate approved their amended but still flawed plan on a party-line vote. The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports Senate passes redistricting overhaul on party-line vote:

On a 17-13 party line vote, the Senate advanced an amended version of Senate President Steve Yarbrough’s proposal to alter the structure of the Independent Redistricting Commission, an effort Democrats charged was politically motivated.

Voters would have to approve the plan, though.

As amended, SCR 1034 (.pdf) increases the size of the commission from a five- to nine-member body, with an equal split among Republican, Democrat and independent commissioners. Yarbrough, R-Chandler, argued that the effort will better represent the roughly one-third of Arizona voters who aren’t registered with a political party and will dilute efforts by either party to “hijack” the redistricting process in their favor.

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Evil GOP bastards are trying to negate the AIRC so the legislature does redistricting maps again

SCR 1034 (.pdf), sponsored by Senator Yarbrough, would alter sections of the citizens initiative that established the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

Among the changes are an increase in the number of Commissioners to eight, selected directly by legislative leaders rather than the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments, which would lead to partisan gridlock because it also requires a supermajority vote of the AIRC to adopt a map (unlikely), which would then allow the legislature to refer its own alternate maps to the ballot (by simple majority vote), and if approved by the voters, would supersede the maps drawn by the Commission. Thus the legislature is back in the redistricting business again! Bwahahaha!

The Senate Government Committee approved the resolution on a 4-3 partisan vote on Wednesday. The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports, GOP proposal would restructure Arizona redistricting:

Critics warn that a plan to alter the membership of a commission responsible for drawing Arizona’s congressional and legislative district maps is designed to fail.

Senate President Steve Yarbrough conceded that by increasing the number of members on the Independent Redistricting Commission from five to eight, it’s likely that the commission would face gridlock.

“That is indeed going to create a probable 4-4 (vote) by my own estimation, but that is by design,” the Chandler Republican told the Senate Government Committee, which approved the resolution on a 4-3 partisan vote Wednesday.

Requiring a supermajority to approve maps during redistricting, a highly-contentious process that creates district maps that will be used for the next decade, will require commissioners to find true bipartisan consensus, Yarbrough said.

“I want the most bipartisan and fair process that we can design,” he said.

This is a bald-faced lie. Keep reading for the true reason.

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Florida federal district court rules prison-based gerrymandering is unconstitutional

I posted about prison-based gerrymandering during the Arizona redistricting hearings back in 2011. See, Prison-based gerrymandering of districts, (Update) Prison-based gerrymandering of districts, and (Update) Prison-based gerrymandering of districts.

This is particularly important in counties that have large prison populations of felony prisoners who have been disenfranchised of the right to vote, like Pinal County.

prison2In practice, prison populations would be counted for purposes of equal apportionment of “residents” per district, but because disenfranchised prisoners no longer possess the right to vote in Arizona, only a small number of eligible voter residents living in a prison district may actually vote.  This is similar to Evenwel v. Abbott, a Texas case currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, which asserts the claim that counting large numbers of ineligible voters (e.g., undocumented immigrants) dilutes the voting power of its residents.

Today the Federal District Court for Florida’s Northern District ruled that such prison-based gerrymandering unconstitutionally dilutes the voting power of its residents. BREAKING: Federal Court Rules Prison Gerrymandering Unconstitutional:

The Federal District Court for Florida’s Northern District ruled Monday that the prison gerrymandering in Florida’s Jefferson County unconstitutionally dilutes the voting power of its residents. By packing inmates who can’t vote into a district, but counting them when drawing electoral maps, District Judge Mark Walker said the county had violated the “one person, one vote” principle in the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment.

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