INSIDE YOUR LEGISLATIVE BODY 2018 Special Edition
Since our last update, federal courts ruled on both congressional and state legislative redistricting in North Carolina, and lawmakers returned to Raleigh earlier this month for another special session. Beginning with some good news, here’s what we know:
State Legislative Redistricting
Last week a federal three-judge panel ruled in favor of adopting state legislative district maps drawn by the court-appointed special master. This is a big deal!
It’s a big deal because these federal courts have now officially affirmed that state legislative maps used in previous election cycles were unconstitutionally and racially gerrymandered. This means we are closing in on more favorable legislative district lines that will give voters in this year’s midterm election the opportunity to vote for candidates that more accurately reflect the “one person, one vote” doctrine.
Earlier this month, a federal judge panel ruled that the state’s 2016 Congressional district maps were partisanly gerrymandered and thus unconstitutional. Originally, this meant the 2016 Congressional maps could not be used in the upcoming 2018 elections, requiring legislators to redraw the maps and create fair districts by the end of January.
The anti-women’s health legislative majority were not pleased with the court’s decision, and in a power grabbing effort, the GOP appealed to the Supreme Court asking for an emergency stay on the federal maps until there’s a decision on the Wisconsin and Maryland partisan gerrymandering cases. In particular, the Wisconsin case has the potential to reshape the political landscape nationally.
However, late last week, the Supreme Court decided that the lawmakers do not have to immediately redraw district lines. Effectively, this means the 2016 unconstitutional, partisan gerrymandered congressional maps will be used in the 2018 elections. Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic is deeply disappointed in this decision and will continue to call for fair and just representation for all North Carolinians.
With all of the action taking place around maps in the courts, lawmakers have seemingly kept quiet in the North Carolina General Assembly. We don’t anticipate many legislative actions before the short budget session convenes in May, but we are keeping an eye out on state judicial reform and whether district judge appointees should be “merit based,” and if a constitutional amendment should concern the state judicial process.
Despite the unknowns and political turmoil at the General Assembly, we remain dedicated to fighting any legislation that works to limit voter participation and engagement. Voting rights are directly connected to women’s reproductive freedom, and with your support we will keep fighting for both.
NC Director of Public Affairs