Lawmakers are moving forward with their new legislative maps as the deadline to submit them to a three-judge panel draws nearer.
The House and Senate committees on redistricting approved each other’s legislative maps this afternoon after the maps passed their second and third readings in the House and Senate yesterday. The order to draw new maps came after courts found that 28 of the state’s 170 legislative districts were illegally racially gerrymandered.
Most of the redistricting committee meetings and floor debates have been accompanied by hours of partisan back-and-forth, with Democrats accusing Republicans of gross partisan and political gerrymandering and Republicans retorting that Democrats used to do the same thing but are only upset about it now in the wake of recent historic political losses.
Last night, Republican Senate leader Phil Berger delivered a twenty-plus-minute-lecture on Democrats’ political shortcomings and their history of gerrymandering.
“You cannot build a legislative majority in a state with one hundred counties when you only compete in one-fourth of them,” said Berger, who supported an independent redistricting bill as a member of the minority party. “Do we really think all of these county shifts are the result of gerrymandering? Of course not. Gerrymandering didn’t do that. Democrats did.”
The House and Senate committee meetings this afternoon were different. There was no debate on either of the redistricting bills, and both were approved in a matter of minutes.
According to Dallas Woodhouse, the executive director of the N.C. Republican Party, this is standard practice.
Lawmakers have until Friday to approve and submit the new maps to a three-judge panel for review. The maps will be headed to the House and Senate floors for debate next, likely tomorrow.