Redistricting, State Legislatures, and Governors

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Lecture 12 Outline of Last Lecture I. Characteristics of State Legislators a. Occupation, Education, Ethnicity, Gender, Wealth and Social Status II. The Incumbency Advantage a. Visibility, Money, Structure III. Professional vs. Less Professional Legislators a. Professional Legislators >> full time job, low turnover, higher salaries, provide more services IV. The Lawmaking Process Chart a. House or Senate Introduction & Referral of a bill b. Committee Action c. Floor Action d. Conference Committee e. Governor acts V. Legislative Districts (Single-member, malapportionment) VI. Drawing of District Lines VII. Homework Reading: a. Chapter 5 Parties and Campaigns in the State: Section State Party Organizations and Activists b. Chapter 6 Legislature: Section Leadership and Role Playing in the States Outline of Current Lecture: I. Strategy of Redistricting for the Majority Party II. Another Look at Dividing a Circle District (Splintering/Cracking, Packing) III. Role of Court Review IV. Redistricting in Texas V. Characteristics, Facts, and Details about the Texas State Legislature VI. Ranking State Legislature (Functionality, Accountability, Informed, Independence, Representativeness) VII. Why is Nebraska a unicameral legislature? VIII. Governors: Qualifications and Salary Current Lecture Redistricting, State Legislatures, and Governors Strategy of Redistricting for the Majority Party  majority party in the state legislature will try to draw districts lines that advantage their party  not all states have gerrymandering districts (districts that advantage one party over the other)  some states have divided government o state legislature dominated by one party o executive branch dominated by another party o if you have divided gov, when the state legislature draws districts lines, executive branch has to sign it so lines are more balanced between parties  26 states with unified government - 24 of which significantly advantaged one party in districts POLS 207 2nd Edition  gerrymandering = to advantage the majority party through creative district line drawing o comes from Governor Gerry from Massachusetts Another Look = Dividing a Circle District  Splintering/Cracking = splintering minority party o dividing support for minority into as many districts as possible  Packing = divide so that minority party wastes votes o majority sacrifices one district to have majority in other districts The Role of Court Review  the court reviews the districting plan to see if it purposely disadvantages a minority group o if so, then it is ruled unconstitutional  How do courts know when true partisan gerrymandering has occurred? o mostly look at the oddity of the shape Redistricting in Texas  A common goal has been the creation of “majority-minority” districts  “majority-minority” district = a district in which the majority of the district is a minority, 50% plus is African American, Hispanic, a combination, etc.  benefits – minority groups support this because these districts are more likely to elect minorities to the state legislature  minorities are more likely to support Democrats  but, Republicans will be more likely to support “majority-minority” districts o think of the packing strategy – packing minorities into a district in order to create stronger Republican districts ...

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