Rhode Island Redistricting 2000

Rhode Island’s Political Lineup

 1991

2001

GovernorD

State Senate45D, 5R44D, 6R
State House89D, 11R84D, 15R, 1I
US Senators1D, 1R1D, 1R
US Reps1D, 1R2D

 

Legislation/Reform Efforts

In the early 1990's a blue ribbon commission formed for the purpose of considering whether state legislators’ salaries should be increased from the then-constitutional rate of $5 per day.  In addition to this salary increase, the commission recommended reducing the size of the state legislature by 25% at the time of the next redistricting.  The commission's proposals were passed by voters in a 1994 ballot measure. The house will be reduced in size from 100 to 75 members, while the senate will be reduced from 50 to 38. Some state legislative leaders suggested a November 2000 referendum to reverse these planned reductions, but it did not occur..

A group made up of various election reform activists called the Fair Redistricting Coalition has formed in the state with three main goals:

  1. Make sure whatever bill the Senate favors includes explicit reference to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  
  2. Make sure the bill says the Redistricting Commission should draw districts that conform to municipal boundaries wherever possible, particularly around Providence and Central Falls.
  3. Guarantee full public access to redistricting computers and software.

The group testified at two hearings on June 4th and June 19th, but the redistricting process seems to be processing unaffected. The redistricting bill they support is S 0621.

Redistricting Deadline

None.

Who’s in Charge of Redistricting?

The legislature. During the last round of redistricting, the legislature appointed a redistricting commission consisting of house and senate members as well as civilian members. There have been no plans made for this round.  The governor has veto power over both congressional and state legislative district plans.

Public Access

Public hearings will be held.  Voters can give testimony and propose plans.  In the past, the legislature has appointed a joint redistricting committee consisting of house and senate members, and private citizens, to hold these hearings.  There are no definitive plans to form this commission in 2001.

Political Landscape

Historically there have not been particularly partisan controversies. Usually only one redistricting bill is reported out for consideration.  Congressional districting likely will be straightforward in 2001, but state legislative redistricting may be complex, with battles over incumbent protection in light of the mandatory reduction in state legislative seats.

Irregularly Shaped District
None.

Districting Principles 

Principle

Congressional

State Legis.

Compactness

 

+

Contiguity

 

 

Political subdivisions

  

  

Communities of interest

  

  

Cores of prior districts

  

  

Protect incumbents

 

 

VRA 5

 

 

  + = required                - = prohibited

Contact Information

  David Gilligan,
 Assistant Legal Counsel
 Office of the Speaker
 State House, 1 Capitol Hill
 Providence, RI 02903
 401/726-8500
 401/726-6475 Fax

 Elmer Cromwell
 Parliamentarian, State House
 Providence, RI 02903
 401/222-6595
 401/222-6142 Fax
 rep-hensler@rilinstate.state.ri.us