Proposed Transparency Bill

PDF VERSION

SLS 1234-124 ORIGINAL

Fiscal Session, 2019

BY ________

Prefiled pursuant to Article III, Section 2(A)(4)(b)(i) of the Constitution of Louisiana

REAPPORTIONMENT TRANSPARENCY: Requires the implementation of transparency measures to be adopted related to the reapportionment process.

AN ACT

To enact R.S. 18:1931 to implement transparency measures in the reapportionment process for legislative districts, and to provide for related purposes;
Be it enacted by the Legislature of Louisiana

Section 1. R.S. 18 § 1931 is hereby enacted to read as follows:

§ 1931 Reapportionment Transparency

In accordance with Article III, Section 6(A) of the Constitution of Louisiana, the legislature shall, in the interest of transparency:

(A) Make clear to the public the process through which legislative districts are drawn, which shall be made available prior to the inception of the reapportionment process;

(B) Conduct public hearings in at least nine different locations throughout the state, including at least one hearing in each Congressional district, one in each of the state’s seven metropolitan areas—Alexandria, Baton Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, New Orleans and Shreveport, and at least two in rural areas, prior to proposing any reapportionment plan. These hearings shall:

(i) Be held in publicly accessible venues;

(ii) Be recorded and made available to watch live online.

(C) Conduct public hearings in at least nine different locations throughout the state, including at least one hearing in each Congressional district, one in each of the state’s seven metropolitan areas—Alexandria, Baton Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, New Orleans and Shreveport, and at least two in rural areas, after reapportionment plans have been proposed, but before any plan has been adopted. These hearings shall:

(i) Be held in publicly accessible venues;

(ii) Be recorded and made available to watch live online.

(D) Create an open and accessible website which, at minimum, contains:

(i) Information on the members of the redistricting authority

(ii) The data being used, and direct access to that data;

(iii) A clear format and procedure by which members of the public may submit proposed maps;

(iv) Hearing notices;

(v) Hearing recordings and transcripts;

(vi) Capacity to stream hearings and access all proposed plans;

(E) The website shall also permit submission of proposed maps by the public using software contracted out by the state. Public submissions shall be required to include a report that explains how the proposed map addresses the following concerns:

(i) Contiguity

(ii) Compactness

(iii) Communities of Interest

(F) Provide adequate notice of all hearings, at least seven (7) days in advance;

(G) Clearly state, in order, the principles legislators will be using in drawing maps;

(H) Limit off-the-record communication between legislators and parties with an interest in the final plan;

(I) Make public the use of any political or demographic data used by the legislature in drawing new maps;

(J) Hold additional public hearings prior to a vote in the legislature on the proposed maps;

(K) Institute a fourteen (14) day waiting period between the passage of the reapportionment bills in the relevant committees before a final floor vote.

(L) Complete a written report explaining the rationale behind the creation of new maps; in lieu of a written report, the rationale may be recorded and made publicly available;

(M) The Secretary of State shall have the power to promulgate additional rules or guidance in accordance with this legislation.

(N) All meetings and hearings in contemplation of a reapportionment plan shall be subject to open meetings law as governed by Article XII, Section III of the Louisiana Constitution of 1974 and R.S. 42:11-42:28.

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The original instrument and the following digest, which constitutes no part of the legislative instrument, were prepared by

DIGEST

Present law provides mechanisms the legislature must follow in the reapportionment process.

Proposed law codifies new transparency requirements to provide for greater public feedback, wider public awareness, and a more comprehensive public record of the reapportionment process.

Effective upon signature of the governor or lapse of time for gubernatorial action.