Washington State Redistricting Commission at Apparent Impasse

The Washington State Redistricting Commission held a special meeting on Nov. 29 in which commissioners reported on the progress of their bi-partisan subcommittees.

“Impasse” was the word Republican Slade Gorton used to describe his negotiations with Democrat Tim Ceis over legislative districts in the northern part of western Washington. Ceis said that might be too strong of a word but agreed the pair have areas of disagreement.

The report from the other two voting members of the commission was largely similar. Republican Tom Huff said his bargaining with Democrat Dean Foster over districts in the southern part of western Washington has seen only “nominal progress.”

“This is unfortunate news to hear,” said Mark Minickiello, vice president of legislative affairs for the Northwest Credit Union Association. “Our PAC committee was hoping to get in with early endorsements in both the first and newly-created tenth Congressional Districts in Washington State, but without clear lines, we can’t determine who will be running in which district, and we can’t support a new candidate over an incumbent. It basically takes us out of the running for being on the list of early supporters.”

If the Redistricting Commission fails to meet the Jan. 1, 2012, deadline for submitting a redistricting plan to the legislature, then the state Supreme Court must prepare a plan by March 1, 2012.

If the commission does agree on a plan by Jan. 1, then the redistricting plan is sent to the legislature and becomes final unless it is amended by the legislature within 30 days after the beginning of the next regular or special legislative session. The first day of regular session is scheduled for Jan. 9, meaning the plan would become final on Feb. 10.

The governor may not veto the commission’s redistricting plan. There is no final vote of approval on the redistricting plan, and it takes effect 30 days after the legislative session begins when it has been finalized.

More information about the Washington State Redistricting Commission is available at www.redistricting.wa.gov.


Questions? Contact a member of the Association’s Legislative Affairs team:

Jennifer Wagner, Director of Legislative Advocacy
Mark Minickiello, Vice President, Legislative Affairs
Stacy Augustine, Senior Vice President & General Counsel

Posted in Advocacy News.