Thursday, November 03, 2005

Redistricting Watch: Tanner Calls for Hearings

Congressman John Tanner (D-TN) called on House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) to schedule and hold a committee hearing on Tanner's Fairness and Independence in Redistricting Act, H.R. 2642.

In a letter to Sensenbrenner, Tanner notes that the FIR Act is "very similar" to legislation introduced by Sensenbrenner himself during the 101st Congress. "H.R. 2642, like your bill before it, attempts to take politics out of the evermore partisan process of drawing new congressional districts," Tanner writes.

The letter goes on to say "I strongly believe that redistricting reform is an issue that can and must be embraced by Members from both parties. Democrats and Republicans have used partisan majorities in their state houses to redraw Congressional maps for political gain, and now both parties must come together to fix this broken system."

After reviewing Sensenbrenner's 1989 legislation, Tanner concludes "it appears that you share my sentiments regarding this issue. Many of the problems with the redistricting process in 1989 unfortunately remain with us today. As a result, voters outside of the political fringes are, in effect, being disenfranchised. With voters increasingly dissatisfied with Congress, the time has come to take a serious look at the way our Members are relating to their constituents."

The best part of Tanner's letter is a side-by-side comparison of the two bills, today's proposed FIR Act and Sensenbrenner's legislation from 15 years ago. They are quite similar indeed, and I hope that Tanner's letter will jog Sensenbrenner's memory and prompt him to plan a hearing on this important issue. It deserves it. If you'd like more info on Tanner's bill you can check out his resource page, or any of my previous posts on the subject listed below.

I'm delighted to be able to continue to work with Rep. Tanner on this important bipartisan issue. It affects all of us: Democrat, Republican, independent and otherwise - we've all got a huge stake in making sure we choose those who will represent us, and don't let the politicians choose who's going to vote for them. This fight may not be the most "sexy" cause, but it is one of the most important aspects of political reform on the horizon today.

Here's what you can do: Call (202-225-5101) or email Chairman Sensenbrenner and urge him to schedule a Judiciary Committee hearing for H.R. 2642, the Fairness and Independence in Redistricting Act of 2005.

Along with Tanner's letter, don't miss this Sacramento Bee roundup of redistricting efforts around the country - it's a very good survey of where things stand.

Previous Redistricting Watch posts:
- "WaPo Weighs In" (10/24)
- "Q & A with Congressman John Tanner" (10/20)
- "Governator Goes to Ohio" (10/18)
- "Schwarzenegger Calls on McCain" (10/11)
- "Broder's Right" (9/1)
- "WaPo on Prop 77" (8/21)
- "Prop 77 Back On" (8/12)
- "Updates from the States" (8/10)
- "Updates on Several Fronts" (7/28)
- "Cosponsors Update" (7/22)
- "How Exactly do you Gerrymander a Birthday Cake?" (7/20)
- "Happy Birthday Mr. Gerry" (7/19)
- "Federal Authority in Historical Perspective" (7/16)
- "Blue Dogs, on the Scent" (7/12)
- "Cosponsors Update" (7/1)
- "Links, News, and Views" (6/24)
- "Polarization & Collegiality" (6/24)
- "Centrist Action on Redistricting Reform" (6/23)


At 10:54 AM, Anonymous onhoth2o said...

I emailed your comments along to a couple of other websites so that they will get more attention. I srongly support honest redistricting. No more gerrymandering!

The other area of reform that's desperately needed is a future ban (the sooner, the better) on electronic voting machines. The GAO just issued a report reflecting corruption of the vote in Ohio. The election was "fixed," unfortunately.

You might consider cross-posting at BradBlog and Velvet Revolution (or even BuzzFlash) to give your comments on redistricting more exposure in the future.

At 12:03 PM, Blogger JBD said...

Thank you, onhoth2o. I think you're right on e-voting as well; so far, it's just not reliable enough for my liking.


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