HB 376
Background and Procedural Information

House Bill 376 was introduced on January 31, 2008 by Republican Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck.  The legislation establishes an independent, bipartisan redistricting commission.  

Under the proposed legislation, are single-member districts a requirement or otherwise implied?

Yes. The legislation explicitly states that the redistricting plan must divide the state into single-member districts for each congressional, state house, state senate, and state school board district.  

Does the proposed legislation provide for Voting Rights Act compliance (e.g. can the commission use voter history information)?


Under the proposed legislation, how is the commission formed?

Under the legislation there are 9 commissioners. Two commissioners are to be appointed by the President of the Senate, 2 by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, 2 by the leader of the minority party in the Senate, and 2 by the leader of the minority party in the House of Representatives. The 8 appointed commissioners then select 2 vice chairs, who then proceed to select the ninth commissioner, which is to become the chair of the commission. Furthermore, each commissioner must be at least 25-years of age, a citizen of the United States, and a resident of the State of Utah for at least 3 consecutive years prior to appointment.

Under the proposed legislation, are competitive districts favored?

Yes. The legislation provides that districts should promote competitiveness and partisan fairness, as long as doing so would not contradict the other goals of the legislation.  

Under the proposed legislation, can members of the public submit plans?

Within 14 days of the commission issuing a draft of its redistricting plan, it must hold a series of 7 public hearings.  During the public hearings, members of the public are allowed to submit written comments regarding the redistricting plan.  

Does the proposed legislation allow for mid-decade redistricting?

No. The legislation requires that redistricting shall only occur every 10 years after the decennial census, or as needed resulting from a change in the number of congressional or legislative seats for reasons other than the decennial census.   
June 18th 2006
Where politicians dare to tread
San Francisco Chronicle

The San Francisco Chronicle editorial board endorses the British Columbia Citizens Assembly approach to electoral reform, specifically noting the potential for proportional representation in California.

March 21st 2006
Real redistricting reform is proportional representation
San Francisco Examiner

Rob Dickinson of Californians for Electoral Reform writes a commentary on how recent proposals to make the redistricting process fairer miss the mark. For real progress in how we elect our representatives, we need to turn to proportional voting.

March 1st 2006
Tanner redistricting bill gains Senate sponsor
The Hill

Senator Tim Johnson introduced a companion bill to Rep. John Tanner's federal redistricting reform legislation. The identical bills, supported by FairVote, would set up state commissions to handle redistricting only once a decade.

December 20th 2005
Overhaul of state electoral system sought

Following on the heels of the defeat of redistricting reform in California, Republican and Democratic legislators plan on introducing legislation to create a citizens assembly for election reform and discuss proportional voting for the state.

December 11th 2005
A Dramatic Idea for Election Reform
New York Times

A Times reader highlights the fundamental weakness of any single-member district-based system: gerrymandering is unavoidable.

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