The Republic’s Laurie Roberts reports in a column today the latest on the GOP efforts to “reform” the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC).
I posted earlier this year about proposals to expand the AIRC to nine members — 3 Democrats, 3 Republicans, 3 Independents — to relieve the current Independent chair of partisan character assassination for every vote they take, or in the case of our former Governor, unlawfully seek to remove the chair Colleen Mathis for purely partisan reasons. Substantive matters, i.e., district maps, would require a super-majority vote of seven members (I argued that ministerial matters should be a simple majority).
These earlier proposals are not what is currently moving through the legislature.
Instead our lawless Tea-Publican legislature wants to require that the current five member AIRC be elected to office rather than appointed, which gives the GOP an electoral advantage in a statewide race to capture all five seats; and they can use all that “dark money” they are simultaneously trying to make available to do it. The GOP culture of corruption in Arizona just keeps getting more profound every day.
Laurie Roberts writes, Republicans pulling a fast one … again that is:
On Wednesday, our leaders will consider a bill aimed at “restoring the integrity” to Arizona’s redistricting process.
This, by ensuring that Arizona’s legislative and congressional districts are drawn by Republicans, rather than an independent citizens panel.
House Concurrent Resolution 2009 would essentially return us to the days of old, when legislators descended into the basement of the state Capitol once a decade and drew the maps.
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The [AIRC] is charged with drawing districts based not upon where incumbents live or how to cement another decade of political dominance but upon a series of criteria aimed at taking at least some of the politics out of the process.
Rep. Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert, wants to change that – by doubling up on the political maneuvering.
HCR 2009 (.pdf) calls for the five commissioners to be elected, rather than appointed, every 10 years.
Conveniently enough, his proposal also lifts restrictions on who can serve, allowing lobbyists, candidates, campaign managers and the rest of the political crew to wheedle their way back into the map making business. And for good reason, who else would raise the money to mount a statewide political campaign for a volunteer job?
Petersen says it’s all about making the commission more accountable to voters.
“I want to give the commission the opportunity say why they will be good for the office and for voters to decide who they should be represented by,” he told the House Government Commission last month. “Really for me it’s a matter of restoring the integrity of the redistricting commission.”
More likely, it’s a matter of restoring Republican dominance when it comes to drawing the state’s political maps.
Republicans have been fuming about the redistricting commission since 2011, when they believe the maps were rigged for Democrats. Since they lost in court, they’re headed to Plan B.
Just as Democrats were fuming about the redistricting commission a decade years earlier, when they believed the maps were rigged for Republicans. They lost in court, too, by the way.
The redistricting process is far from perfect. I could see expanding the commission — adding two more independents in order to dilute the power of the chair, who serves as the swing vote.
But I’m pretty sure that nothing good will come from Petersen’s bill, which already has cleared the House and will be heard by the Senate Government Committee on Wednesday.
In Arizona, every statewide office is held by a Republican. So converting a citizen commission to a partisan panel filled with lobbyists and politicians gets us … what, exactly?
Authoritarian Tea-Publican one-party domination in perpetuity . . . short of a revolution.
How they voted in the House: