LB 402Background and procedural information
LB 402, known as the Redistricting Act, would create an appointed Redistricting Committee in Nebraska which would be responsible for drawing district lines after each national census. The Committee would be responsible for drawing Congressional districts, legislative districts, supreme court judicial districts, public service commission districts, board of regents districts, and state board of education districts. In drawing these districts, the Committee would be prohibited from using political data. This bill is currently in the General File in Nebraska’s unicameral legislature while several amendments are pending. A similar version of this bill, Legislative Bill 939, was introduced in 2006 and got stuck in the Executive Board Committee.
Under the proposed legislation, are single-member districts a requirement or otherwise implied?
No, but the legislation requires districts to at least contain the same number of legislators.
Does the proposed legislation provide for Voting Rights Act compliance (e.g. can the commission use voter history information)?
No. There are no specific provisions for Voting Rights Act compliance. Additionally, the legislation prohibits the use of demographic information other than head counts and past results.
Under the proposed legislation, how is the commission formed?
In each year ending in zero, three citizens from each of the three current Congressional districts are appointed by the legislative counsel executive board—which is elected by the legislature. There may be no more than five people from any one political party. Once nine people have been appointed, they vote by majority for the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of the Committee. LB 402 Section 3.
Under the proposed legislation, are competitive districts favored?
Under the proposed legislation, can members of the public submit plans?
No. The district lines are drawn by the Director of Research of the Legislature, or his or her designee, and public hearings are held to gain public input. There is no specific prohibition on members of the public submitting plans to the Director for adoption, but their participation is mainly limited to input. LB 402 Sections 8-9.
Does the proposed legislation allow for mid-decade redistricting?
No. Redistricting may only be done in years ending in one. LB 402 Section 8.
*Note: A proposal may be neutral on whether or not to favor competitive districts for a number of reasons, including that such a requirement may be thought to conflict with other criteria, potentially create other legal issues, or is assumed to flow from the new process itself -- or it might merely not be a priority for the legislative sponsors. FairVote believes that some form of proportional voting is needed to ensure maximum competitiveness for each seat and to ensure meaningful choices for all voters.