The overlooked issue
One little-discussed purpose of the 2010 election is to elect the new Nevada Legislature that will handle reapportionment of both state legislative districts and of U.S. House districts. The party that controls the legislature controls the next 10 years of legislative districts.
In 2001, with a 14-7 Republican majority in the Nevada Senate, its last reapportionment plan was adopted in relative peace in the legislative halls. But at the 1991 session, with an 11-10 Democratic majority in the Senate, a reapportionment plan was railroaded through in a single day with no public notice. After weeks of bipartisan negotiations, Democrats suddenly unveiled a plan that favored their party with a vote scheduled for that same day. Republicans were given a few hours to view maps before a vote. The public was given no opportunity to see the plan before it was rammed through. In 1992, in spite of their gerrymandering favorable districts, the Democrats lost their Senate majority.
With the political parties now increasingly polarized, no one is sure that the two parties will work together on redistricting.
Nevada is one of eight states expected to gain seats in the U.S. House—one seat, in Nevada’s case.
A Nevada “Requirements for Reapportionment and Redistricting” committee is functioning now to lay the groundwork for the 2011 legislature. Its agendas and newsletters are posted at www.leg.state.nv.us/Interim/75th2009/Committee/Studies/Redistrict/?ID=57.