Supporters push for independent redistricting - Albuquerque Journal

Supporters push for independent redistricting

Legislative staffers set up Plexiglas dividers on the House floor in preparation for the start of the 60-day session. The dividers are intended as a safety precaution due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – About one-third of New Mexico’s legislators have signed on to a bipartisan proposal to establish an independent redistricting commission designed to reduce political influence in the drawing of congressional and legislative boundaries.

But the House version of the legislation has advanced through only one of the two committees it’s been assigned to so far. An identical measure in the Senate hasn’t received a hearing yet.

The lack of progress has supporters of the legislation fearing it won’t make it through both chambers in time to reach the governor in the next 30 days, or that they’ll face other roadblocks.

Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, an Albuquerque Democrat and co-sponsor of the Senate measure, said passage of the bill is critical to ensuring commonsense districts are drawn to reflect community interests, not political considerations.

“We want to have a system,” he said, “that the voter can have confidence in – and that should not include a criterion of incumbent protection.”

Republican Rep. Rebecca Dow of Truth or Consequences said Thursday that the independent redistricting legislation in the House has 30 co-sponsors in that chamber – just six short of a majority.

But it’s one of several bipartisan measures that, she said, simply “are not getting hearings.”

House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, said Thursday that the redistricting legislation is in the queue and should be heard in its next committee, House Judiciary, late next week. The committee chairwoman, he said, usually takes up bills in roughly the order they arrive in her committee.

On the Senate side – where redistricting proposals have been assigned to start in the Rules Committee – the chairman, Democrat Daniel Ivey-Soto of Albuquerque, said he is a strong supporter of an independent redistricting commission. There is no effort to hold back the bills, he said.

But Ivey-Soto, a lawyer, said legislators must scrutinize the independent redistricting legislation carefully. The state Constitution, he said, prohibits enacting a law that would require lawmakers to accept, say, a redistricting map without amendment. But his attempts to revise the Constitution in past sessions, he said, failed to advance.

“I don’t want – out of an abundance of enthusiasm for a de-politicized process – to start with a faulty legal premise that will guarantee a judge is going to throw it out,” Ivey-Soto said.

Democrats hold substantial majorities in both chambers at the Capitol and control the Governor’s Office, putting them in an unusually powerful position when new districts are drawn to reflect 2020 Census information. Court intervention has helped shape districts in recent decades after disagreement between Republican governors and Democratic legislative majorities.

House Bill 211 and Senate Bill 199 call for a seven-member redistricting commission designed to reduce political considerations. A retired justice or judge would lead the board, with members selected by the State Ethics Commission or party leaders in the House and Senate.

The commission would deliver proposed maps to the Legislature, which would pick one without amendment.

Senate Bill 15, sponsored by Ivey-Soto, would establish a legislative committee to propose districts. It hasn’t had a hearing yet.

Home » Journal North » Journal North Recent News » Supporters push for independent redistricting

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
Santa Fe man killed in suspected DWI crash on ...
ABQnews Seeker
A Santa Fe man was killed ... A Santa Fe man was killed after a suspected drunken driver rear-ended his truck on Interstate 25 late Friday, causing it to roll. Hector ...
Biden signs debt ceiling bill that pulls US back ...
ABQnews Seeker
WASHINGTON (AP) -- With just two ... WASHINGTON (AP) -- With just two days to spare, President Joe Biden signed legislation on Saturday that lifts the nation's debt ceiling, averting an ...
Longtime ABQ Rep. Christine Trujillo to retire from Legislature
ABQnews Seeker
Citing her age and health, state ... Citing her age and health, state Rep. Christine Trujillo, D-Albuquerque, said she will retire from the Legislature this summer.
Albuquerque’s Al Cabral claims gold in Asian Pacific Masters ...
ABQnews Seeker
"The world is a beautiful place ... "The world is a beautiful place and this gives me a chance to travel," said Al Cabral, 89, who won gold medals for javelin ...
Great Southwest Track and Field: Missouri's Smith perseveres for ...
ABQnews Seeker
Jordan Smith of Kansas City, Missouir, ... Jordan Smith of Kansas City, Missouir, scored 6,247 points over Thursday and Friday as he successfully repeated as the Great SW decathlon champ.
Saturday's El Paso-United match is even bigger than usual, ...
ABQnews Seeker
Motivation will not be in short ... Motivation will not be in short supply Saturday night at Isotopes Park. New Mexico United (4-4-2) and El Paso Locomotive FC (7-3-1), two of ...
A decade after county defeat, Michael Wiener seeks return ...
ABQnews Seeker
Eleven years ago, Republican Michael Wiener ... Eleven years ago, Republican Michael Wiener faced censure and calls to resign. Now he wants “back in the game.”
Meet the retired engineer from Albuquerque who has a ...
ABQnews Seeker
This Albuquerque resident is a numbers ... This Albuquerque resident is a numbers guy. And something of a gambler, too.
New Mexico State women's basketball adds Hall of Famer ...
ABQnews Seeker
Hall of Famer Bridgette Gordon is ... Hall of Famer Bridgette Gordon is joining the New Mexico State women's basketball staff, the school said Friday.