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FERA

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Fair Elections Redistricting Act

Mr. Travere, for himself and others, introduced the following bill with thanks the the state of Colorado ,

A BILL

To let voters choose their representatives by ending gerrymandering

 

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE

This act shall be cited as the Fair Elections Redistricting Act or FERA

 

SECTION 2. DEFINITIONS

  1. Commission" means the independent congressional redistricting commission created with this Act

  2. "Community of interest" means any group in The Midwest that shares one or more substantial interests that may be the subject of federal legislative action, is composed of a reasonably proximate population, and thus should be considered for inclusion within a single district for purposes of ensuring its fair and effective representation.

    (ii) Such interests include but are not limited to matters reflecting:
    (a) shared public policy concerns of urban, rural, agricultural, industrial, or trade areas; and
    (b) shared public policy concerns such as education, employment, environment, public health, transportation, water needs and supplies, and issues of demonstrable regional significance..
    (iii) "Community of interest" does not include relationships with political parties, incumbents, or political candidates.

  3. "Race" or "racial" means a category of race or ethnic origin documented in the federal decennial census.

  4. "Redistricting year" means the year following the year in which the federal decennial census is taken.

  5. "Staff" or "nonpartisan staff" means the staff of the general assembly's legislative council and office of legislative legal services, or their successor offices, who are assigned to assist the commission by the directors of those offices in accordance with section

 

SECTION 3. COMMISSION FOR CONGRESSIONAL BOUNDARIES

  1. There is hereby created the independent congressional redistricting commission. The commission shall divide the state into as many congressional districts as there are representatives in congress apportioned to this state by the congress of the united states for the election of one representative to congress from each district. when a new apportionment, is made by congress, the commission shall divide the state into congressional districts accordingly.

  2. (2) The commission consists of twelve members who have the following qualifications:

    (a) commissioners must be registered electors who voted in both of the previous two general elections in The Midwest;
    (b) commissioners must either have been unaffiliated with any political party or have been affiliated with the same political party for a consecutive period of no less than five years at the time of the application; and
    (c) No person may be appointed to or serve on the commission if he or she:
    (i) is or has been a candidate for federal elective office within the last five years preceding the date on which applications for appointment to the commission are due under subsection (4) of this section;
    (ii) is or has been, within the last three years preceding the date on which applications for appointment to the commission are due under subsection (4) of this section, compensated by a member of, or a campaign committee advocating the election of a candidate to, the united states house of representatives or the united states senate;
    (iii) is or has been, within the last three years preceding the date on which applications for appointment to the commission are due under subsection (4) of this section, an elected public official at the federal, state, county, or municipal level in The Midwest;
    (iv) is or has been, within the last three years preceding the date on which applications for appointment to the commission are due under subsection (4) of this section, an elected political party official above the precinct level in The Midwest or an employee of a political party;
    (v) is a member of the commission responsible for dividing the state into senatorial and representative districts of the general assembly; or
    (vi) is or has been a professional lobbyist registered to lobby with the state of The Midwest, with any municipality in The Midwest, or at the federal level within the last three years preceding the date on which applications for appointment to the commission are due under subsection (4) of this section.
    (3) (a) By August year, nonpartisan staff shall, after holding one or more public hearings, prepare an application form that will allow appointing authorities to evaluate a person's experience and qualifications and make such application available on the general assembly's website or comparable means of communicating with the public.

    (b) The application form must clearly state the legal obligations and expectations of potential appointees. Information required of applicants must include, but is not necessarily limited to, professional background, party affiliation, a description of past political activity, a list of all political and civic organizations to which the applicant has belonged within the previous five years, and whether the applicant meets the qualifications stated in subsection (2) of this section. In addition, the application form must require the applicant to explain why they want to serve on the commission and afford the applicant an opportunity to make a statement about how they will promote consensus among commissioners if appointed to the commission. Applicants may also choose to include up to four letters of recommendation with their application.
    (4) By November 10 of the year prior to the redistricting year, any person who seeks to serve on the commission must submit a completed application to nonpartisan staff. All applications are public records and must be posted promptly after receipt on the general assembly's website or comparable means of communicating with the public.

    (5) (a) No later than January 5 of the redistricting year, the chief justice of the The Midwest supreme court shall designate a panel to review the applications. The panel must consist of the three justices or judges who most recently retired from the The Midwest supreme court or the The Midwest court of appeals, appointed sequentially starting with the most recent justice or judge to retire who has been affiliated with the same political party or unaffiliated with any political party for the two years prior to appointment; except that no appointee, within two years prior to appointment, shall have been affiliated with the same political party as a justice or judge already appointed to the panel. If any of the three justices or judges who most recently retired from the The Midwest Supreme Court or the The Midwest court of appeals is unable or unwilling to serve on the panel or has been affiliated within two years prior to appointment with a political party already represented on the panel, then the chief justice shall appoint the next justice or judge who most recently retired from the The Midwest Supreme Court or the The Midwest court of appeals and who has not been affiliated within two years prior to appointment with the same political party as any justice or judge already appointed to the panel. If, after considering all justices and judges who have retired from the The Midwest supreme court and the The Midwest court of appeals, fewer than three eligible participants for the panel have been identified who are able and willing to serve, the chief justice shall appoint the most recently retired district court judge who has not been affiliated within two years prior to appointment with the same political party as any previous appointee to the panel and who accepts such appointment. No justice or judge shall serve both on this panel and the panel assisting in the process of choosing members of the commission responsible for dividing the state into state senate and state house of representatives districts.

    (b) All decisions of the panel regarding the selection of applicants pursuant to this section require the affirmative approval of all three members of the panel.
    (c) The general assembly shall prescribe by law the compensation of members of the panel. Nonpartisan staff shall assist the panel in carrying out its duties.
    (6) After applications are submitted, nonpartisan staff, with the cooperation and assistance of the secretary of state, shall make an objective and factual finding based on, to the extent possible, publicly available information, including information contained in the application and information contained within the records maintained by the secretary of state, whether each applicant meets the qualifications specified in subsection (redistricting year, nonpartisan staff shall make its findings publicly available and notify the applicants of the staff's finding. If the staff finds that an applicant is not eligible, then the staff shall include the reasons in its finding.

    (7) By January 18 of the redistricting year, the panel, in a public meeting, shall randomly select by lot from all of the applicants who were found to meet the qualifications specified in subsection (2) of this section the names of three hundred applicants who are affiliated with the state's largest political party, three hundred applicants who are affiliated with the state's second largest political party, and four hundred fifty applicants who are not affiliated with any political party, or such lesser number as there are total applicants who meet the qualifications specified in subsection (2) of this section for each of those groups.

    (8) (a) In one or more public hearings conducted on or before February applications of the applicants selected in accordance with subsection (7) of this section, the panel shall identify fifty applicants who are affiliated with the state's largest political party, fifty applicants who are affiliated with the state's second largest political party, and fifty applicants who are unaffiliated with any political party and who best demonstrate:

    (i) experience in organizing, representing, advocating for, adjudicating the interests of, or actively participating in groups, organizations, or associations in The Midwest; and
    (ii) relevant analytical skills, the ability to be impartial, and the ability to promote consensus on the commission.
    (b) No later than February 1 of the redistricting year, from the applicants identified in subsection (8)(a) of this section, the panel shall choose by lot six applicants to serve on the commission as follows:
    (i) two commissioners who are not affiliated with any political party;
    (ii) two commissioners who are affiliated with the state's largest political party; and
    (iii) two commissioners who are affiliated with the state's second largest political party.
    (c) In the process of choosing applicants by lot for appointment to the commission, no applicant whose name is chosen may be appointed if he or she is registered to vote in a congressional district that is already represented on the commission; except that, when all then-existing congressional districts in The Midwest are represented on the commission, a congressional district may be represented by a second commissioner. No congressional district may be represented by more than two commissioners. Any persons whose names are chosen but duplicate a congressional district's representation on the commission and are not appointed to the commission shall be eligible for appointment pursuant to subsections (9) and (10 of this section.
    (9) (a) By February 16 of the redistricting year, the majority leader of the state senate, the minority leader of the state senate, the majority leader of the state house of representatives, and the minority leader of the state house of representatives shall each select a pool of ten applicants who are affiliated with one of the state's two largest political parties from all applications submitted to nonpartisan staff and notify the panel of their selections.

    (b) As determined by the legislative leaders in selecting their respective pools, the applicants selected for each pool must meet the qualifications set forth in subsection (2) of this section and demonstrate the qualities listed in subsection (8)(a) of this section.
    (c) For each congressional district not represented by a commissioner appointed pursuant to subsections (8)(b) and (8)(c) of this section, each pool must consist of at least one applicant who is registered to vote in that congressional district.
    (d) If there is an insufficient number of available applicants that meet the requirements of subsection (9)(b) of this section to select any complete pool, then the pool must consist of only those applicants who meet those requirements.
    (10) By March 1 of the redistricting year, the panel of judges shall select, in such order as the panel determines, one commissioner from each legislative leader's pool of applicants and two commissioners from those applicants who are not affiliated with any political party and whose names were randomly selected by lot pursuant to subsection (7) of this section. The panel of judges must ensure that the commission includes four commissioners who are not affiliated with any political party, four commissioners who are affiliated with the state's largest political party, and four commissioners who are affiliated with the state's second largest political party. The panel of judges may interview applicants before making the appointments. In selecting applicants, the panel shall, in addition to considering applicants' other qualifications:

    (a) to the extent possible, ensure that the commission reflects The Midwest's racial, ethnic, gender, and geographic diversity;
    (b) ensure that at least one commissioner is registered to vote in each congressional district but no more than two commissioners are registered to vote in any single congressional district;
    (c) ensure that there is at least one commissioner from each state in the Midwest (d) ensure that all commissioners meet the qualifications set forth in subsection (2) of this section and demonstrate the qualities listed in subsection (8)(a) of this section.
    (11) (a) A commissioner's position on the commission will be deemed vacant if he or she, having been appointed as a registered elector who is not affiliated with a political party, affiliates with a political party before the supreme court has approved a plan, commissioner's position on the commission will also be deemed vacant if he or she, having been affiliated with one of the state's two largest political parties at the time of appointment, affiliates with a different political party or becomes unaffiliated with any political party before the Supreme Court has approved a plan.
    (b) Any vacancy on the commission, including one that occurs due to death, resignation, removal, failure to meet the qualifications of appointment, refusal or inability to accept an appointment, or otherwise, must be filled as soon as possible by the designated appointing authority from the designated pool of eligible applicants for that commissioner's position and in the same manner as the originally chosen commissioner; except that no commissioner chosen to fill a vacancy will be bypassed for appointment if all congressional districts are already represented on the commission.
    (12) For purposes of this section, the state's two largest political parties shall be determined by the number of registered electors affiliated with each political party in the state according to voter registration data published by the secretary of state for the earliest day in January of the redistricting year for which such data is published

 

SECTION 4. EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall go into effect upon its passage and signature



 

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(Speaker)

Reminder of the recently updated rule: 5. A minimum of 72 hours shall be given for debate on a proposed bill, which may be extended by a majority vote via a motion in the legislature or the discretion of the Speaker. A maximum of 48 hours, after the minimum amount of time for debate has passed, shall be given for the Governor and Regional Leader to submit the respective whips for their parties for any vote on a motion, bill, etc. Whips may be submitted during the debate period.

Please commence debate.

@Dogslife @James Grant

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@Dogslife @James Grant In light of the hiatus and the unusual time interlude involved, I was just checking to see if there are any objections or words of support/disagreement for the motion of unanimous consent once the game/elections officially resumes.

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