Proposed Bill

Coding: Italicized words are deletions from existing law; words in boldface type are additions.

LEGISLATIVE APPORTIONMENT. A constitutional amendment to provide for the creation of a redistricting commission, charged with redrawing legislative districts following the decennial U.S. census. (10/28/18)

A JOINT RESOLUTION

Proposing to amend Article III, Section 6 of the Constitution of Louisiana, relative to Legislative  Reapportionment; to create a commission for the purpose of redrawing legislative districts  to be submitted to the legislature for approval; to provide for submission of the proposed  amendment to the electors; and to provide for related matters.

 Section 1. Be it resolved by the Legislature of Louisiana, two-thirds of the members elected  to each house concurring, that there shall be submitted to the electors of the state, for their approval  or rejection in the manner provided by law, a proposal to amend Article III, Section 6 of the  Constitution of Louisiana, to read as follows:

§ 6. Legislative Reapportionment; Reapportionment by Supreme Court; Procedure Section 6. (A) Reapportionment by Legislature Commission. By the end of the year following the year in which the population of this state is reported to the president of the United States for each decennial federal census, the legislature redistricting commission shall reapportion the representation in each house as equally as practicable on the basis of population shown by the census.  

(B) Commission Composition. Commission members shall be appointed by December 1 of the years ending in 0. If commission appointments are not made by the above deadline, the Governor shall have the power to fill any unappointed commission position. Commission appointments shall be submitted to the State Board of Election Supervisors for clerical purposes.

1. The redistricting commission shall consist of nine members  appointed as follows:

a. A representative appointed by the longest serving Senator of the majority party.

b. A representative appointed by the longest serving Senator of the minority party.

c. A representative appointed by the Speaker of the House.

d. A representative appointed by the Leader of the largest party of the House of Representatives of which the Speaker is not a member.  

e. A representative appointed by the Governor  

f. Four representatives appointed jointly by the Presidents of Centenary College at Shreveport, Dillard University at New Orleans, Louisiana College at Pineville, Loyola University at New Orleans,  Tulane University of Louisiana at New Orleans, and Xavier University at New Orleans. Two of these representatives must not be a registered member of the two largest political parties in the state.  

(C) Redistricting Commission. The redistricting commission shall convene in December of years ending in 0, following the state’s receipt of census information from the United States government. The commission will complete a legislative reapportionment plan by March 15 of that year, with district lines for all districts in both houses of the legislature. The commission shall then hold at least three public hearings. Following these hearings, the commission will compile a report, including the reapportionment plan (including district lines) and testimony from the hearings and individual commission members. The report must then be submitted to the legislature by April 1.

(D) Ratification Process. After receiving the commission’s reapportionment report on April 1, each chamber of the legislature shall vote on the plan without amendment. If the plan does not pass both houses of the state legislature by May 1, the commission shall create a new plan for submission to the legislature. Upon receipt of a new plan from the commission by June 1, both houses of the legislature shall vote on the new plan without amendment.

(B) (E) Reapportionment by Supreme Court. If the legislature fails to reapportion as required in Paragraph (A) ratify either submission of the redistricting commission by October 1, the supreme court, upon petition of any elector, shall reapportion the representation in each house as provided in Paragraphs (A), (F) and (G).

(F) Commission Procedure. The commission shall select two co-chairpersons from their membership at their first meeting. Committee decisions shall be made by a simple majority vote, but that simple majority must include the votes of at least three of the four members appointed by the legislative leadership.  

(H) Commission Funding and Staff. Funding for the commission shall be provided by law. The commission may hire staff as necessary to complete reapportionment.

(I) Reapportionment Requirements. A reapportionment plan and any individual legislative district shall not be designed to favor or disfavor any political party or incumbent legislator. In establishing districts, the use of previous electoral results, political affiliation of registered voters, and domiciliary addresses of sitting legislators is prohibited. Each legislative district must be contiguous and must comply with the requirements of federal law. Districts must not be drawn with the intent or result of denying or abridging the equal opportunity of racial or language minorities to participate in the political process or diminishing their ability to elect representatives of their choice.

(J) Political Subdivisions. To the extent possible based on the requirements of subsection I, legislative districts must be drawn to maintain cohesive representation of existing political subdivisions.

(C) (K) Procedure. The procedure for review and for petition shall be provided by law.

Section 2. Be it further resolved that this proposed amendment shall be submitted to the electors of the state of Louisiana at the statewide election to be held on October 12, 2019.

Section 3. Be it further resolved that on the official ballot to be used at said election there shall be printed a proposition, upon which the electors of the state shall be permitted to vote YES or NO, to amend the Constitution of the Louisiana, which proposition shall read as follows:

Do you support an amendment to create a commission to draw state legislative districts following the decennial U.S. Census which will be prohibited from favoring or disfavoring political parties and sitting legislators?  

(Amends Const. Art. III, Section 6)

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

DIGEST

SB 1 Original 2019 Regular Session Will Harrison

Present law provides the timeline and methods for reapportioning of state legislative districts.

Present law provides that each year following the decennial national census, the legislature shall reapportion districts based on allocating equal population as much as is feasible to each district.

Present law provides that if the legislature is unable to complete the required reapportionment of districts, the Supreme Court of Louisiana will instead complete reapportionment.

Present law provides that procedures may be written by the legislature for reviewing the proposed and ratified new legislative districts.

Proposed law creates a commission which shall redraw legislative district lines following the decennial census.

Proposed law specifically excludes advantaging or disadvantaging political parties or incumbent legislators when drawing new legislative districts.

Proposed law specifically provides that legislative districts must be contiguous, drawn with a complete, unbroken boundary.

Specifies submission of the amendment to the voters at the statewide election to be held on October 12, 2019.

(Adds Const. Art. III, § 6 (D) – (J) and amends Const. Art. III, § 6 (A) – (C)

Credit: William Harrison, Tulane Law School ‘20