Shuler to introduce bill mandating bipartisan redistricting commissions in each state

January 26, 2011 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

Democratic Reps. Heath Shuler (N.C.) and Jim Cooper (Tenn.) will introduce a bill this week that would require each state to create a bipartisan redistricting commission. The commissions would consist of five member panels. “The majority and minority leaders in each state would appoint two members apiece, and those four would in turn select the fifth commissioner,” according to an article published by the Knoxville News Sentinel.

The bill, which if passed would not take effect until 2020, also has strict requirements on who can serve on the commissions: campaign staffers and party officials who have held those jobs in the previous four years would not be eligible and those on the commission would be ineligible to run for Congress during the next decade.

The bill comes as Republicans now have majorities in both houses of the North Carolina General Assembly and will control the process for the first time since 1898. Shuler’s congressional seat is likely to be a target for Republicans seeking to draw more favorable districts for GOP candidates.

Detractors of the bill say redistricting commissions just shift the political process into different hands. But in the Knoxville News Sentinel article, Shuler decries the partisan nature of the process, saying, “you have elected officials whose jobs are to make sure their political party gets more of an advantage over the next political party.”