While the legislature is technically not in session, they are still able to work on a number of important issues in advance of their return in January.
With the release of new census data, legislators in the Senate and House are beginning to focus on the redistricting process that occurs every 10 years. Committee meetings have already begun in the Senate and will begin in early August in the House.
Because how the districts are drawn affects who is elected to the state legislature, we wanted to make sure you were aware that this process is beginning and how to engage.
The first opportunity to engage in this process and ensure your voice is heard is TOMORROW, Tuesday, July 27. The Senate redistricting committee will hold a public hearing on the process and provide the opportunity for you to share what you believe is important for them to consider as they start the process to draw the Senate district lines.
As you get a feel for the implications of redistricting, here is an article by the Post & Courier and an editorial from Cindi Scoppe - these provide important context as well as background on the impact of this critical issue. Finally, our friends and Conservation Coalition partners at the League of Women Voters (LWV) are following this closely and have created a one-pager on the criteria they believe should be prioritized in this process. LWV can also be of assistance if you would like additional information beyond this email and these articles.
Here’s the state of play:
The Senate Judiciary Committee has formed a subcommittee to focus on redistricting: Senators Rankin (Chair), Campsen, Young, Sabb, Bright Matthews, Talley, and Harpootlian.
They have set 10 public hearings to hear from folks across the state about what things they should consider when redrawing Senate districts. For instance, what’s important when defining a district – geography, municipal and county boundaries, ideology, income, schools, others? The Senate redistricting committee has a one-stop webpage with resources, hearing dates, and how to sign up to speak at https://redistricting.
The first hearing is in Columbia tomorrow, Tuesday, July 27th at 6:30 pm in the Senate Gressette building.
View the video streams of the meetings here.
The House Judiciary formed an ad hoc committee to focus on redistricting: Representatives Jordan (Chair), Bamberg, Collins, Henegan, B. Newton. Bernstein, Elliott, and W. Newton. They have their first organizational meeting on August 3rd at 10:30 am in the House Blatt building. There will not be testimony or public comment at this meeting. If you’d like to tune in, the livestream should be available here.
As we learn more about this process, we’ll be sure to keep you posted. Also, in addition to submitting your comments or speaking at the public hearings, you can always reach out to your Representative and Senator (even if they are not on the committees) and let them know your thoughts on redistricting and what they should consider. If the CVSC team can help, please let us know.