N.H. Senate Kills Bill to Remove Redistricting Authority from State Legislature

Mar 30, 2017

The Republican-controlled state Senate killed a bill Thursday that would create an independent redistricting commission for state elections.

Under New Hampshire law legislators have the job of re-drawing the state’s political map after every census report. That includes drawing district lines for the state House and Senate, the Executive Council, and New Hampshire’s two congressional districts.

Democratic Senator Bette Lasky, the bill’s prime sponsor, says this process means the majority party has control on where these lines end up. 

“Over the years this has become a process by which the party in power basically gets to make the rules and manipulate the numbers and lines to favor their particular viewpoint,” Lasky said Thursday on the Senate floor.

Republicans have controlled the redistricting process in New Hampshire for decades. The bill would have shifted this authority from the legislature to an independent non-partisan commission. Four states use a similar method.

The bill failed along party lines, with Republicans opposed and Democrats supporting.