What is House Bill H.R. 44?
Cost of House Bill H.R. 44
In-Depth: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) reintroduced this bill from the 114th Congress to prevent redistricting before the constitutionally prescribed time to do so:
“The need to safeguard our democracy—and the eternal principle of ‘one person, one vote’—is a sacred responsibility. Unfortunately, it has been under assault from various directions, including those seeking to marginalize the electoral voice of our fellow citizens. As a Senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee, the committee of jurisdiction for the Voting Rights Act, I am determined to ensure that the promise of our democracy is available to all. This includes guaranteeing that our legislative districts are not drawn in the middle of the decade, so as to leverage undue partisan gain. This is why I introduced H.R. 44, the Coretta Scott King Mid-Decade Redistricting Prohibition Act of 2017, which would prevent redistricting before the constitutionally prescribed time to do so.”
Rep. Jackson Lee originally introduced this bill in the 113th Congress in 2013, after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County v. Holder struck down a key portion of the Voting Rights Act that established the criteria for determining which state and local governments must clear voting rules changes with the federal government, based on their history of having an under-representation of minority voters. Based on that ruling, many Democrats have argued that the Court nullified the Voting Rights Act (VRA), and have called for ways to update the VRA and protect voters.
In the current Congress, this bill has no cosponsors. In the 114th Congress (2015-2016), it also had no cosponsors, but when Rep. Jackson Lee originally introduced this bill in the 113th Congress (2013-2014), it had four cosponsors, all of whom were Democrats.
Of Note: Redistricting — the process by which new congressional and state legislative boundaries are drawn — currently varies across states. According to Article I, Section 4 of the Constitution, states and their legislatures have primary authority in determining the “times, places, and manner” of congressional elections.
Most states are already required to draw new congressional district lines every 10 years, following the completion of the Census every 10 years. In 37 of those states, state legislatures are primarily responsible for redistricting; in four, independent commissions draw congressional district lines; and in two states, politician commissions draw the lines.
How districts are drawn can be massively impactful, influencing: who wins elections, the distribution of political power, communities’ representation, and laws’ passage (or failure). Thus, there’s a powerful incentive to manipulate district lines for political gain. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, from the nineties to now, there’s been an increase in the frequency and sophistication of these manipulations (which are known as gerrymanders).
When and how redistricting occurs has become a contentious issue in recent years, due to extreme partisan gerrymandering in a handful of states, most notably North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Maryland.
The Hill (Previous Congress)
Brennan Center for Justice (Context)
Summary by Lorelei Yang(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / YinYang)
Coretta Scott King Mid-Decade Redistricting Prohibition Act of 2019
To prohibit States from carrying out more than one Congressional redistricting after a decennial census and apportionment.
- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The senate has not voted
- The house has not voted
Committee on the JudiciaryIntroducedJanuary 3rd, 2019
- house Committees