A nonprofit Louisiana policy research organization is calling for an independent commission to replace state lawmakers as the line-drawing authority when redistricting rolls around again in 10 years.
The Public Affairs Research Council has compiled a report on the 2011 redistricting process in Louisiana, making several key recommendations on how to raise transparency and “advance its traditional approach to redistricting.”
With hurricanes Katrina and Rita forcing population shifts in the state and a population loss that has cost the state a seat in the U.S. House, PAR says “the (redistricting) process is likely to be filled with clashes around issues of incumbency, race, regionalism and party politics.”
PAR’s report, as found on its website, include tips for both the current redistricting special session and the next redistricting process following the 2020 census:
-The Legislature should fully and publicly document the current redistricting process in anticipation of the 2020 redistricting cycle and accommodate broad public input.
-Amendments to redistricting bills should be posted in advance of votes to so that lawmakers and the public have time to review them. Proposed amendments should be accompanied by maps delineating the impact on all districts affected by the change.
-After the special session, the state should take decisive steps toward forming a new redistricting method that is not reliant on legislators drawing their own district maps. Ideally this would take the form of an independent commission overseeing redistricting of congressional and state legislative seats, though other systems should be considered. A new way of redistricting – implemented for the 2020 Census – should be debated, designed and approved in the near future, not later in the decade when incumbent pressures are likely to block real reform.
More recommendations on redistricting and a copy of the report from PAR can be found at its website.
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OCT 1 Bobby Jindal is sure doing his best to court the far right; this post on TIME magazine says he'll be over in Oklahoma today to stand beside the billionaires who own Hobby Lobby while they announce a Bible "museum." In Washington D.C. (Wonder if there will be an exhibit on Matthew 19:24?)
OCT 1 Blogger Ian McGibboney is taking a look at the penalty call that is causing a stir. During a Monday NFL game, a player for the Chiefs executed a Muslim prayer gesture following a touchdown. The NFL has announced that the call was wrong, but Ian's not so sure.
OCT 1 Looks like hoards of whining college students and (extremely unflattering) satire can make a difference: The Advocate reports here that lease talks have reopened for Highland Coffees, a coffee shop near the north gates of LSU. Earlier this week, dismay was unleashed when the paper reported that the shop would be closing because its landlord had other plans for the space.
OCT 1 Blogger Mike Deshotels is outlining the flaws he sees in the so-called "Value Added Model" of teacher evaluation. It basically seeks to pay teachers according to how their students do on tests. (Sure hope they don't start using that model for doctors!) He's got a lot of information here, not just about the plan but about the people involved - and their history.
OCT 1 Columnist Jim Beam breaks down the difference between ISIS and ISIL, along with origins of each group and what has been reported about them over the years. It's a good clear primer if you're one of those continually confused by the names being thrown around.
OCT 1 Blogger Tom Aswell brings us up to date on the latest mess surrounding the Office of Group Benefits, which handles health insurance for state employees. It ain't pretty, and it has left Tom pleading for anyone who might be remotely competent in the Division of Administration to get in touch with him.
OCT 1 Look out! Some enterprising individual, who knows how to register a domain, has pulled off a stunning bit of hilarity here. Not long ago, blogger Lamar White Jr. gave us a post on Louisiana Family Forum, and how it is not a charity but is instead a tax shelter for a lobby. If you go to the interwebs and type in "louisianafamilyforum.com" you will find Lamar's story. Heh.
SEP 30 Here's another story that makes Louisiana look backward; blogger Manny Schewitz writes about a church that won't allow AA to use its facilities because those boozers might track in some gay. Every time he sees one of these, as he calls them "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" type of stories, he always starts wishing: "Please don't let it be Louisiana... Please don't let it be Louisiana..."
SEP 30 This post on PoliticusUSA, an extremely liberal blog, takes aim at Bobby Jindal's disingenuous attempts to play both sides against the middle on the evolution/creationism issue. Jindal is "dutifully serving his Koch masters" on the climate change issue as well, blogger Rmuse writes.
SEP 30 Ever wonder what goes on in a football locker room following a game like Sunday's embarrassment? Here's a post on ESPN about the "reality check" the Saints had. Among the comments: "Right now we're not a very good football team."
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