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House Passes Blue Dog-Backed Redistricting Reform Measure

March 4, 2021 by TWN Staff
BACK ROW (LEFT TO RIGHT): Rep. David Scott (GA-13), Rep. Ed Case (HI-01), Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02), Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Rep. Max Rose (NY-11), Rep. Charlie Crist (FL-13), Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16), Rep. Mikie Sherril (NJ-11), Rep. Ben McAdams (UT-04), and Rep. Sanford Bishop (GA-02). FRONT ROW (LEFT TO RIGHT): Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-03), Blue Dog Co-Chair Kurt Schrader (OR-05), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Communications Lou Correa (CA-46), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Administration Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Policy Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Whip Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), Rep. Kendra Horn (OK-05), Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), and Rep. Joe Cunningham (SC-01). NOT PICTURED: Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05), Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Rep. Collin Peterson (MN-07), Rep. Brad Schneider (IL-10), and Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05)

WASHINGTON – A Blue Dog Coalition-backed redistricting reform measure is among the key provisions of the H.R 1, For the People Act bill passed by the House Wednesday night.

The language in the bill closely tracks what Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., included in his John Tanner Fairness and Independence in Redistricting Act, which eliminates partisan gerrymandering from the congressional redistricting process by requiring each state to establish an independent, bipartisan redistricting commission.

In addition, it directs that as the independent commission redraws congressional district lines once every 10 years, its work reflect contiguous communities.

The legislation is named after former Rep. John Tanner, a founding member of the Blue Dog Coalition who championed this legislation for many years leading up to his retirement in 2010.

In addition to the John Tanner Fairness and Independence in Redistricting Act, the Blue Dog Coalition has endorsed Cooper’s Redistricting Transparency Act, which would require states to publicize redistricting information online, including the data used in the process, details of the process, proposed maps and public hearing dates.

It also would require that the public be allowed to comment before maps receive final approval.

Both measures have been a longstanding priority of the Blue Dogs during times of both Democratic and Republican majorities in Congress.

“For too long, partisan gerrymandering has fueled hyper-partisanship in our politics, and, in turn, has caused much of the dysfunction we see in Congress,” said Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz., the Blue Dog Coalition’s co-chair for Communications.

“Establishing independent redistricting commissions has proven to work in several states already, and it ensures the American people are accurately represented in Congress. We are glad to see that the House has taken a significant step to give the power back to the American people rather than leaving it up to political parties to draw the lines of representation,” he said.

For his part, Rep. Cooper, said “legislating is a team sport and I’m glad to have my colleagues’ support of these two reform bills.

“Voters should always choose their elected officials, not the other way around. H.R. 1 is a step in the right direction,” he added.

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