By Amanda Wright, Mario E Diaz & Associates
States across the country must, every ten years, undertake the critical task of redistricting their congressional and legislative districts to ensure district populations are equalized. In many states, the state’s legislature completes this task. However, in 2000, Arizonans passed Proposition 106, which created the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) and tasked it with establishing new boundaries, taking this authority from the state legislature. Proponents, at the time, believed the IRC would allow for greater citizen participation. Today, some experts believe that the extreme partisanship of the Arizona legislature is a direct result of some of the 2001 IRC’s mapping decisions and hope that the 2011 IRC will reverse this trend by striving for more competitive districts. Yet, Proposition 106 also requires the IRC to “respect communities of interest.” Many organizations, defining themselves as communities of interest, used the first round of public hearings to lobby the IRC to ensure their communities are respected. Some experts believe that the IRC cannot create competitive districts and still respect communities of interest because members of a community of interest tend to vote for one party or the other.
Chamber members that believe a particular mapping scheme would benefit green businesses should plan to express that before the IRC. Go to azredistricting.org to learn more about upcoming public hearings and sign up for advanced meeting notices.