The U.S. Census, which provides the population information used as the basis for redistricting congressional and state legislative districts, began enumeration activities on April 1, 2020 and concluded on October 15, 2020. As the time for the Census and the subsequent redistricting process drew near, redistricting was discussed in state legislatures with increasing frequency. The chart included in this article provides information about the status of redistricting legislation, as of November 10, 2020, including legislation pending before the United States Congress and state legislatures, legislation recently enacted by state legislatures, and 2020 state ballot initiatives.
Currently, there are ten redistricting bills or resolutions pending in the U.S. Congress. Of those ten bills, five concern independent redistricting commissions. Other topics include Congressional district requirements, prohibiting states from redistricting more than once per ten-year cycle, and public participation.
As of November 10, 2020, eight state legislatures are still in session. Of those states, 3 legislatures have a total of 14 pending bills related to redistricting. Of those bills, four concern independent redistricting commissions and two concern the enumeration of incarcerated persons. The other pending bills concern standards for congressional and state legislative districts.
Enacted State Legislation
Nine bills have been recently enacted by six states. The bills concern a wide variety of redistricting topics, including:
- Independent redistricting commissions;
- Modification of precinct boundaries;
- Addressing late delivery of Census data;
- Enumeration of incarcerated persons; and
- Whether written descriptions of Congressional and state legislative districts should be provided.
During the November 3, 2020, general election, three states posed ballot questions related to redistricting.
Missouri Amendment 3 was a ballot question that was the result of legislation (Missouri SJR 14 and SJR 9 in the attached chart). Amendment 3 was approved by voters and changed the redistricting process approved by voters in 2018 by:
Transferring responsibility for drawing state legislative districts from the Nonpartisan State Demographer to Governor-appointed bipartisan commissions; and
Modifying and reordering the redistricting criteria.
The amendment also made changes related to lobbyist gifts and campaign contribution limits.
New Jersey Question 3 was a ballot question that was the result of legislation (New Jersey ACR 188 in the attached chart). Question 3 was approved by voters, and made the following changes through a constitutional amendment:
Postponing the state legislative redistricting process until after the election on November 2, 2021, if the state receives federal census data after February 15, 2021;
Keeping the current legislative districts in place until 2023; and
Using the delayed timeline in future redistricting cycles if the census data is received after February 15 of the year ending in 1.
Virginia Question 1 was a ballot question that was the result of legislation (Virginia HB 784 in the attached chart). Question 1 was approved by voters, and through a constitutional amendment, transferred the power to draw both congressional and state legislative districts to a 16-member redistricting commission composed of 8 legislators and 8 citizens.
|Bill Number||Status||Pending Legislation|
|U.S. Congress HR 1||Senate Legislative Calendar||Would require states to establish independent, nonpartisan redistricting commissions.|
|U.S. Congress HR 44||House Judiciary Committee||Would prohibit states from carrying out more than one congressional redistricting after a decennial census and apportionment.|
|U.S. Congress HR 124 & HR 130||House Judiciary Committee||Would prohibit states from carrying out more than one congressional redistricting after a decennial census and apportionment, and requires states to conduct such redistricting through independent commissions.|
|U.S. Congress HB 131||House Judiciary Committee||Would require states to carry out congressional redistricting in accordance with a process under which members of the public are informed of redistricting proposals and have the opportunity to participate in the development of such proposals prior to their adoption, including use of an Internet website.|
|U.S. Congress HR 163||House Judiciary Committee||Would require the use of independent, nonpartisan commissions to carry out congressional redistricting and to require states to hold open primaries for elections for federal office.|
|U.S. Congress HR 1612||House Judiciary Committee||Would require states to establish independent, nonpartisan redistricting commissions.|
|U.S. Congress S 1972||Senate Judiciary Committee||Would prohibit partisan gerrymandering to ensure any redistricting of congressional district boundaries results in fair, effective, and accountable representation for all people.|
|U.S. Congress HR 2057||House Judiciary Committee||Would direct the Attorney General to enter into an agreement with the National Academies to conduct a study to develop guidelines, best practices, and examples for congressional redistricting.|
|U.S. Congress S 2226 & HR 3572||Senate Judiciary Committee (S 2226), House Judiciary Committee (H 3572)||Would require states to carry out congressional redistricting in accordance with plans developed and enacted into law by independent redistricting commissions.|
|U.S. Congress HR 4000||House Judiciary Committee||Would require that congressional redistricting be conducted in accordance with a plan developed by (1) a state-established independent commission; or (2) if such a commission fails to enact a plan, a three-judge panel from a U.S. District Court.|
|NY A6461; S 2047||In Committee||Would provide that each senate district shall be comprised of one county in its entirety.|
|NY S8790||To Attorney General for opinion||Would relate to the enumeration of incarcerated persons, and would enumerate such persons at their permanent address.|
|PA HB22; SB1022||In Committee||Would propose a constitutional amendment to provide for an independent redistricting commission.|
|PA HB401||In Committee||Would establish a redistricting commission.|
|PA HB402||In Committee||Would provide for congressional and legislative redistricting.|
|PA HB1535||In Committee||Would relate to the enumeration of incarcerated persons.|
|PA HB2606||In Committee||Would set congressional district standards.|
|PA SB22||Tabled||Would propose a constitutional amendment to establish a redistricting commission.|
|PA SB122||In Committee||Would propose a constitutional amendment to provide for a redistricting commission.|
|PA SB558||In Committee||Would propose a constitutional amendment to provide for the designation of legislative and congressional districts.|
|RI H7260; S2077||In Committee||Would propose a constitutional amendment to adopt a constitutional procedure for redistricting.|
|Bill Number||Status||Enacted Legislation|
|Colorado SB186||Signed by Governor-July 11, 2020||The bill establishes provisions for independent redistricting commissions, including: establishing who should receive copies of proposed and final maps; makes provisions for plan correction, requires Sec. of State to provide map copies to candidates; establishes nonstatutory provisions to provide staffing, process for selecting commission members, and budget provisions for the commissions.|
|Kentucky HB457||Signed by the Governor on April 7, 2020||The bill freezes modification of election precincts by counties and changes the date for precinct modification in subsequent redistricting cycles.|
|Missouri SJR 9, SJR 14||Adopted on May 17, 2019||The resolution proposed a constitutional amendment to transfer redistricting duties to a Governor-appointed commission, modify redistricting criteria and make changes to lobbyist and campaign finance laws.|
|New Jersey ACR188||Adopted on July 30, 2020||The resolution proposed a constitutional amendment to address the scenario in which the Governor receives Census Bureau population data later than February 15, 2021, and would set new deadlines for adoption of new legislative districts.|
|New York S08833||Adopted on July 23, 2020||The resolution proposed a constitutional amendment to to require state entities to provide information such that incarcerated persons could be enumerated at their last place of residence; and it would also make provisions for an independent redistricting commission.|
|Virginia HB105||Signed by the Governor on April 8, 2020||The bill removed the requirement that written descriptions of the boundaries of congresional and state legislative districts be provided.|
|Virginia HB 784. SB236, SJR18||Signed by the Governor on April 10, 2020||The bill provided for a voter referendum at the November 3, 2020, election to approve or reject amendments to the Constitution of Virginia establishing the Virginia Redistricting Commission and providing for the reapportionment of the Commonwealth to be done by such Commission.|
Jordan Milholland, Senior Research Analyst
Joanna Dolan Principal Research Analyst
Jessa Farmer, Research Analyst