House committee changes bill to alter makeup of redistricting commission

On a 4-3 party-line vote Thursday, GOP lawmakers on the House Government Committee approved SCR1034, which would increase the number of commissioners on the IRC to nine from five, an action that worries minority blocs.

Arizona Capitol Times reports resolution’s sponsor, Senate President Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler, has said he’s hoping to make improvements to the redistricting measures to ensure that the process of redrawing Arizona’s legislative and congressional district boundaries is as nonpartisan as possible.

But at every turn in the legislative process, Democrats have rejected his efforts to alter the IRC.

The legislation focused on a change in the rate at which the size of Arizona’s legislative districts may vary. Under current law, the largest and smallest district may not vary in the size of their voting population by a more than 10 percent deviation.

Yarbrough has offered multiple amendments to address those concerns, but Democrats say the resolution – which would still need to be approved by voters to take effect – would simply politicize the process, Capitol Times reported.

Yarbrough proposed changing the deviation limit to plus or minus 2 percent, the same as congressional district boundaries, and he refused to budge from that position.

Joel Edman, executive director of the Arizona Advocacy Network, said that change could result in more cities and towns split between two legislative districts in the name of arguments favoring “one person, one vote.”

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