HR 5010Background and procedural information
HR 5010 would amend Article X of the Kansas Constitution and create an independent redistricting commission. It was introduced on 2/7/05 as a concurrent resolution by the committee on governmental organization and elections.
Under the proposed legislation, are single-member districts a requirement or otherwise implied?
No. Equality of population is a stated goal, but there is no requirement that a certain number of districts be drawn or that they must be single-member district. However, Article 2 § 2 of the Kansas Constitution requires single-member districts.
Does the proposed legislation provide for Voting Rights Act compliance (e.g. can the commission use voter history information)?
Yes. Protection of voting rights of racial, ethnic, and language minority groups is a stated goal of the redistricting commission. While the commissioners are precluded from considering political affiliation of voters, election results, and demographic data, there is an exception for compliance with federal law.
Under the proposed legislation, how is the commission formed?
The legislation proposes a 5-member commission, with 4 members appointed by the legislative party leaders. The fifth member, who is elected from a pool of six candidates by the 4 appointed members, serves as the chairperson, but cannot vote. There is no requirement that the commission be strictly bipartisan.
Under the proposed legislation, are competitive districts favored?
Under the proposed legislation, can members of the public submit plans?
Possibly. While there is no explicit authorization in the legislation, the commission is empowered to establish its own rules and procedures. It could therefore possibly allow public submittal of plans pursuant to this power.
Does the proposed legislation allow for mid-decade redistricting?
No. The statute allows for redistricting only every 10 years.
*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.