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Nevada Legislature May Create Congressional District Distribution Requirement for Initiatives

Published on May 30, 2009, by in General.

On Saturday, May 30, the Nevada Senate Finance Committee amended SB 212, so that if the bill becomes law, initiatives would need a substantial number of signatures from each of Nevada’s three U.S. House districts. This is a far less restrictive idea than the original bill, which required a substantial number of signatures in each of Nevada’s 42 Assembly districts for a statewide initiative petition. See this article, which mistakenly says Nevada has 4 U.S. House districts.

3 Responses

  1. Andy

    Cogressional district distribution requirements are still an unnecessary barrier for ballot access.

  2. Demo Rep

    ALL houses of ALL State legislatures have been EVIL indirect minority rule oligarchies for many decades.

    A plurality of the votes in a bare majority of the gerrymander districts (political concentration camps) = about 25-30 percent indirect minority rule by the ruling gang of party hack monsters — who pick a de facto TYRANT – MONARCH party hack boss to run the agenda — aka Speakers and Majority *Leaders*.

    Save Democracy — P.R. NOW — before it is too late.

  3. Jim Riley

    The vote was 20-1 to amend and pass from the full Senate. I’m not sure that it really matters since the session ends tomorrow.

    The Nevada Constitution has an initiative provision that requires 10% statewide, and 10% in 3/4 of the (currently 17) counties. This was struck down by the 9th Circuit which suggested that a standard based on legislative districts might not have the same flaw as the use of counties (the reasoning was similar to that of the reapportionment cases of the 1960s).

    For a legislature to propose a constitutional amendment might require the support of 100% of the representatives from 2/3 of the districts, so it may not be unreasonable to require 10% support from 100% of the districts for an initiated change.

    Anyhow, the legislature instead put in place a requirement that 10% of the voters in each country sign an initiative petition. This was overturned by a federal district court, which led the legislature to consider the use of the 42 Assembly districts, which at least have nominally equal population. The problem is that no one knows which assembly district they live in, especially in Clark County (Las Vegas). The proposal actually has a provision that would permit a signature gatherer to have an electronic device that would permit the voter signing the petition to determine which district that they lived in.

    When the legislation was discussed in committee earlier, there was some concern that using congressional districts would also fail to provide distributed support since 2 congressional districts are entirely in Clark County, and the 3rd includes a portion.

    The amendments that were passed would actually use “petition districts”, which would be defined as being coincident with the current 3 congressional districts until 2011, when the legislature would be expected to create new petition districts of roughly equal population (the number of petition districts is unspecified in the amendment). 2011 is also when the congressional districts will be reapportioned (Nevada will gain a 4th, so this might be the source of the error in the story). If Nevada had 6 “petition districts”, Washoe County (Reno) could have one, Clark County could have 4, and one could include the rest of the state and a bit of Clark County. Presumably since you aren’t trying to mess up particular incumbents or parties, the districts could have boundaries that are recognizable.

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