A bipartisan group of North Carolina legislators said Wednesday they will file a bill to create an 11-member independent body to draw the state’s Congressional and state legislative maps.
House Bill 69 supporters say the citizen’s commission would draw the maps without considering partisan politics. The commission would have four Republicans and four Democrats, as well as three people not affiliated with either major party.
The General Assembly would then vote on whether to accept the maps.
State Rep. Chuck McGrady, a Republican from Henderson County, said 2019 is a good time to create the independent group. He said neither party knows who will be in charge of the General Assembly after the 2020 election.
"At a point in time where neither the Republicans are sure they will be in charge, nor the Democrats are sure they will be in charge, maybe the time that both sides come together and say we prefer to have non-partisan redistricting as opposed to having the other party be completely in charge of the system" McGrady said during a news conference in Raleigh.
Robert Reives (D-Chatham, Durham), Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) and Brian Turner (D-Buncombe) are the other sponsors.
The commission would hire staff to help draw the maps and to hold public hearings.
The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in a lawsuit on March 26 filed by Common Cause N.C. and the League of Women Voters over the state’s Congressional map. The two groups say the map is an unconstitutional gerrymander because Republicans have 9 of the 13 seats.
The 10th seat is in the 9th Congressional District, where the State Board of Elections hasn’t certified a winner between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready.
Common Cause has also sued in Wake County Superior Court over the state's legislative map.