Why NM Legislators Should Vote for SB 134
Summary: Sponsored by Senators Liz Stefanics (D) and Mark Moores (R), SB 134 makes a FY 2021 General Fund appropriation to the Secretary of State to convene a redistricting task force to study and make recommendations on how to conduct the redistricting process following the 2020 Census. The task force would commence in late spring 2020 and make recommendations to the relevant interim legislative committee and the 2021 Legislature.
History: In 2019, SB 416, introduced by Senators Mark Moores and Bill Tallman and Rep. Kelly Fajardo, would have required the Legislative Counsel Service to prepare decennial redistricting plans with the advice of a temporary redistricting advisory commission with four members appointed by the majority and minority floor leaders of the House and Senate and the fifth member selected by the other four members. This is the non-partisan redistricting model that has been used successfully in the state of Iowa. SB 416 passed the Senate Rules Committee but then died in Senate Judiciary without a hearing.
Why This Bill is Good for New Mexico
- New Mexico needs relevant public participation and oversight to assure a fair and more transparent redistricting process, which can be achieved via a task force. This fair and more transparent process will help to avoid the expenditure of millions of dollars in court costs, as has been required in the past.
- The 2001 and 2011 redistricting cycles ended up in the courts, which cost the state more than $6 million, in addition to a a loss of public confidence in the political process.
- Fourteen states have independent redistricting commissions with another four states considering them. Another six states have some public participation/oversight of the redistricting process.
- New Mexico was one of the last states to create an independent ethics commission. We don’t want to be one of the last to reform redistricting.
- Because of the national publicity about gerrymandering and the Supreme Court decision to leave redistricting reform to the states, people are now more engaged in the redistricting process and will expect it to be fair and transparent.
Fair Districts for New Mexico; League of Women Voters of New Mexico; Common Cause New Mexico; New Mexico Ethics Watch; ACLU-NM; Progressive Democrats of America Central New Mexico; Indivisible Nob Hill; Indivisible Corrales; New Mexico First; New Mexicans for Money Out of Politics; Center for Civic Policy; New Mexico Open Elections; Vecinos United; The Brennan Center for Justice; Election Reformers Network; and the Princeton Gerrymandering Project