The traditionally closed state legislative process can become much more transparent, and some advocates are enthusiastic.
Philip Carchman, a retired judge serving as the 11th member of the state Legislative Redistribution Commission, formally known as the New Jersey Apportionment Commission, has proposed that party political members of the panel submit cards that will be published next month before re-voting. on, POLITICO has confirmed according to two sources with knowledge of the process.
Carchman declined to comment in an email.
“As far as I know, this is the first in New Jersey’s history,” said Henal Patel of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, a member of the Fair District Coalition that has pushed for more transparency in redistribution. “We are very excited about this development.”
The coalition had called for draft maps to be made available before they are selected, allowing the public to weigh in and propose changes. It is not clear whether Carchman’s proposal would allow such adjustments.
Link: New Jersey redraws its state legislative and congressional district boundaries every 10 years through two-part commissions.
In previous decades, the five Democrats and five Republicans in the state Legislative Redistribution Commission have privately laid out strategies and drawn cards that they did not share publicly before the tie-breaker, appointed by the state Supreme Court judge, chose one of the thaw. proposals.
Carchman’s proposal differs significantly from how the congressional redistribution was implemented last month, when tie-breaker John Wallace Jr. got each side to submit cards to him. He told Democrats he would vote for their card shortly before he formally cast his vote.
“We’re really happy to see it happen here. It’s really a shame it did not happen at the congressional level,” said Amy Torres of the Alliance for Immigrant Justice, who is also a member of the Fair District Coalition.
Jockeying: Rumors and speculations about what district maps might look like have led to intense political jockeying. During the process of redistribution of Congress, allies of rep. Tom Malinowski (DN.J.), worried that the commission would redraw his 7th district to be more kind to Republicans, and flooded public hearings to request that they largely leave the district as it is. However, their fears were realized when the Democrats made Malinowski’s district less democratic in order to support other potentially vulnerable democratic rulers.
Having the proposed state legislative cards available to anyone who wants to see them could intensify political jockeying from the legislators themselves and interested parties who will see the actual iterations of their districts before voting on them. New Jersey has 40 legislative districts.
What’s next: The Commission has scheduled four public hearings over the next few weeks, the most recent on 9 February. Proponents hope for at least one more meeting then, so people have more time to see and understand the suggestions.
The constitutional deadline for the new law district map is March 1st.
Carchman’s decision to publish the proposals was first reported by the New Jersey Globe.
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