NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022

Redistricting reform bill gets unanimous vote in the Senate as House tweaks new maps

Some redis­trict­ing-relat­ed news out of the Leg­is­la­ture tonight:

The Sen­ate has giv­en unan­i­mous approval to a bill spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Jamie Ped­er­sen and sup­port­ed by the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute that would make the work of future Redis­trict­ing Com­mis­sions more trans­par­ent, while the House has approved a con­cur­rent res­o­lu­tion mak­ing minor adjust­ments to the Com­mis­sion’s work prod­uct, which the Supreme Court ruled had been com­plet­ed on time a few weeks ago, even though it actu­al­ly wasn’t.

As sum­ma­rized by non­par­ti­san staff, Sen­ate Bill 5560 would do the following:

  • Requires that the Redis­trict­ing Com­mis­sion to make any plan pub­licly avail­able for sev­en­ty-two hours pri­or to vot­ing to approve it.
  • Requires any amend­ments to that plan to be debat­ed and vot­ed on in open session.
  • Requires at least twen­ty-four hours to pass after any amend­ments to a redis­trict­ing plan are adopt­ed before a vote on final approval.
  • Requires that the Com­mis­sion’s sub­mis­sion of a plan to the Leg­is­la­ture include maps and cen­sus unit descriptions.

The bill would pre­clude a repeat of what we saw last Novem­ber, when Com­mis­sion­ers April Sims, Brady Walkin­shaw, Joe Fain, and Paul Graves were work­ing out of pub­lic sight while pre­tend­ing to con­duct redis­trict­ing busi­ness in pub­lic. The bill is mod­est and does­n’t go as far as we would like, but it at least adds a few safe­guards that we cur­rent­ly don’t have in state law.

The roll call was as follows:

Roll Call
SB 5560
Redis­trict­ing plans
3rd Read­ing & Final Passage
2/2/2022

Yeas: 47; Excused: 2

Vot­ing Yea: Sen­a­tors Bil­lig, Braun, Car­lyle, Cleve­land, Con­way, Das, Dhin­gra, Dozi­er, For­tu­na­to, Frockt, Gildon, Hasegawa, Hawkins, Holy, Hon­ey­ford, Hunt, Keis­er, King, Kud­er­er, Liias, Lovelett, Lovick, McCune, Mul­let, Muz­za­ll, Nguyen, Nobles, Pad­den, Ped­er­sen, Ran­dall, Rivers, Robin­son, Rolfes, Sal­daña, Salomon, Sefzik, Shel­don, Short, Stan­ford, Trudeau, Van De Wege, Wag­oner, War­nick, Well­man, Wil­son (Claire), Wil­son (Jeff), Wil­son (Lyn­da)

Excused: Sen­a­tors Brown, Schoesler

Two Repub­li­can sen­a­tors missed the vote, with every­one else vot­ing yea.

The next stop for the bill, after it gets referred, will be the House State Gov­ern­ment & Trib­al Rela­tions Com­mit­tee, chaired by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Javier Valdez. Redis­trict­ing reform is one of NPI’s top ten leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ties for 2022, and we hope this leg­is­la­tion will have a sim­i­lar­ly easy path through the House.

For its part, the House sent the Sen­ate a con­cur­rent res­o­lu­tion (HCR 4407) that makes minor changes to the maps cre­at­ed by the Redis­trict­ing Com­mis­sion last autumn. The Con­sti­tu­tion explic­it­ly allows the Leg­is­la­ture to tweak Com­mis­sion-cre­at­ed maps, but such changes must get a two-thirds vote. And these did:

HCR 4407
Redis­trict­ing plan
House vote on 3rd Read­ing & Final Passage
2/2/2022

Yeas: 88; Nays: 7; Excused: 3

Vot­ing Yea: Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Abbarno, Barkis, Bate­man, Berg, Bergquist, Berry, Boehnke, Bronoske, Caldier, Callan, Cham­bers, Chan­dler, Chap­man, Chopp, Cody, Cor­ry, Davis, Dolan, Don­aghy, Duerr, Dufault, Dye, Enten­man, Eslick, Fey, Fitzgib­bon, Frame, Gil­day, Goehn­er, Good­man, Gra­ham, Gregerson, Grif­fey, Hack­ney, Hansen, Har­ris, Hoff, Jacob­sen, John­son, Kir­by, Klick­er, Klip­pert, Klo­ba, Leav­itt, Lekanoff, MacEwen, Macri, May­cum­ber, McEn­tire, Mor­gan, Mos­bruck­er, Orcutt, Orms­by, Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Paul, Peter­son, Ramel, Ramos, Ric­cel­li, Robert­son, Rude, Rule, Ryu, Schmick, Sells, Senn, Shew­make, Sim­mons, Slat­ter, Springer, Steele, Stokes­bary, Stonier, Sul­li­van, Tay­lor, Thai, Tharinger, Valdez, Vick, Volz, Walen, Walsh, Wicks, Wilcox, Wylie, Ybar­ra, Jinkins

Vot­ing Nay: Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Chase, Dent, Har­ris-Tal­ley, McCaslin, Pol­let, San­tos, Young

Excused: Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kraft, Kretz, Sutherland

Three Democ­rats vot­ed nay: Kristin Har­ris-Tal­ley, Sharon Tomiko San­tos, and Ger­ry Pol­let. They were joined by four Repub­li­cans: Chase, Dent, McCaslin, and Young. Three more Repub­li­cans skipped the vote.

The text of the one hun­dred and thir­ty-one page res­o­lu­tion is here.

HCR 4407 was first read on Jan­u­ary 28th. It went straight to the sec­ond read­ing cal­en­dar, bypass­ing the com­mit­tee process. The res­o­lu­tion did not receive a pub­lic hear­ing before it was brought to the floor and con­sid­ered, nor was any non­par­ti­san staff analy­sis pre­pared and pub­licly post­ed before the vote.

Major­i­ty Leader Pat Sul­li­van told his col­leagues that the res­o­lu­tion con­sists of a set of changes request­ed by coun­ty audi­tors that are “tech­ni­cal in nature” — meant to fix bugs and flaws in the Redis­trict­ing Com­mis­sion’s work product.

The Sen­ate has until ear­ly next week to sign off on the changes.

Mean­while, three redis­trict­ing-relat­ed law­suits remain pend­ing in state and fed­er­al court. Two suits con­cern the Redis­trict­ing Com­mis­sion’s alleged vio­la­tions of the Open Pub­lic Meet­ings Act. One of those was brought by Arthur West and anoth­er was brought by the Wash­ing­ton Coali­tion for Open Government.

The third suit alleges the Com­mis­sion’s work prod­uct vio­lates the Vot­ing Rights Act. That chal­lenge was filed in fed­er­al court in Taco­ma by a coali­tion of plain­tiffs that includes the Mex­i­can Amer­i­can Legal Defense and Edu­ca­tion­al Fund.

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