HCR 2009 is the ultimate in gerrymandering: AIRC would become the ARC

Cross posted from SkyIslandScriber.com.

The Arizona voters established the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC) to provide for a better, less partisan means of redrawing district maps. A group of House GOPlins are out to destroy that commission by making it what amounts to the Arizona Republican Commission. Here’s the scoop (snippets quoted from HCR 2009 – emphases added).

What it is

HCR 2009

Introduced by Representatives Petersen, Townsend, Senator Farnsworth D

A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; AMENDING ARTICLE IV, PART 2, SECTION 1, CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; RELATING TO THE INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING COMMISSION.

What gets scratched

Everything! The original language, almost in total, establishing the AIRC is trashed. Here is an example of what HCR 2009 strikes out.

No more than two members of the independent redistricting commission shall be members of the same political party. Of the first four members appointed, no more than two shall reside in the same county. Each member shall be a registered Arizona voter who has been continuously registered with the same political party or registered as unaffiliated with a political party for three or more years immediately preceding appointment, who is committed to applying the provisions of this section in an honest, independent and impartial fashion and to upholding public confidence in the integrity of the redistricting process. Within the three years previous to appointment, members shall not have been appointed to, elected to, or a candidate for any other public office, including precinct committeeman or committeewoman but not including school board member or officer, and shall not have served as an officer of a political party, or served as a registered paid lobbyist or as an officer of a candidate’s campaign committee.

The rest of the original language is struck as well. That language provides for, and limits the character of, the pool of nominees to the AIRC and how they are chosen. The commission on appellate court appointments creates the pool of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents from which the House and Senate majority and minority leaders pick four. The resulting two Democratic and two Republican commissioners then select an Independent from the original pool.

I know that many folks see ways to improve this process, e.g., by expanding the number of commissioners. But HCR 2009 is absolutely the worst possible “fix.” So what does HCR 2009 do?

What is new

BEGINNING ON THE SECOND MONDAY IN JANUARY of each year that ends in one, an independent redistricting commission IS established to provide for the redistricting of congressional and state legislative districts. The independent redistricting commission shall consist of five members, EACH OF WHOM SHALL SERVE A TERM OF TEN YEARS. THE COMMISSION MEMBERS SHALL BE ELECTED AT THE REGULAR GENERAL ELECTION HELD IN EACH YEAR THAT ENDS IN ZERO, IN THE SAME MANNER AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED BY LAW FOR OTHER STATEWIDE OFFICES, AND SHALL MEET THE SAME ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS AS PRESCRIBED IN THE CONSTITUTION AS FOR THE OFFICE OF GOVERNOR.

So the bottom line here is that whichever political party is in the majority in the state gets to win all five of the seats on the “independent” redistricting commission. This is another example of how the Tea-publican legislature is out to thwart the will of the electorate.

This one needs to be beaten to a pulp. Start your letter writing now.

P. S.

Not convinced? Here is one more limitation on the commission that is removed by HCR 2009. Nothing like permitting the commissioners to profit financially from their service. Only the Greedy Oligarchical Patriarchs could dream up this one.

A commissioner, during the commissioner’s term of office and for three years thereafter, shall be ineligible for Arizona public office or for registration as a paid lobbyist.

h/t Sandy Bahr via Michele Manos.

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