SB45 (2008) Detail

Changing the name of the ballot law commission to the elections and ballot law commission, increasing the membership of the commission, and requiring the commission to propose redistricting plans.


SB 45 – AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE

04/12/07 1165s

04/12/07 1253s

2007 SESSION

07-0349

03/01

SENATE BILL 45

AN ACT changing the name of the ballot law commission to the elections and ballot law commission, increasing the membership of the commission, and requiring the commission to propose redistricting plans.

SPONSORS: Sen. Burling, Dist 5; Rep. Weed, Ches 3; Rep. Clemons, Hills 24

COMMITTEE: Election Law and Internal Affairs

ANALYSIS

This bill:

I. Changes the name of the ballot law commission to the elections and ballot law commission.

II. Increases the membership of the commission.

III. Requires the commission to propose redistricting plans.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

04/12/07 1165s

04/12/07 1253s

07-0349

03/01

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Seven

AN ACT changing the name of the ballot law commission to the elections and ballot law commission, increasing the membership of the commission, and requiring the commission to propose redistricting plans.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 Elections and Ballot Law Commission; Organization. Amend RSA 665:1 to read as follows:

665:1 Organization.

I. There shall be [a] an elections and ballot law commission consisting of [5] 7 members. Two members shall be appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives, one from each of the 2 major political parties in the state based on votes cast for governor in the most recent state general election. Two members shall be appointed by the president of the senate, one from each of the 2 major political parties in the state based on votes cast for governor in the most recent state general election. [One member] Two members shall be appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the council, one from each of the 2 major political parties in the state based on votes cast for governor in the most recent state general election and shall be [a person] persons particularly qualified by experience in election procedure. One member shall be appointed by the New Hampshire supreme court and shall be an attorney in good standing and licensed to practice in the state of New Hampshire. No person shall be appointed to the commission who is registered as a lobbyist or who holds an elected office or who is an election official, nor shall any person be appointed to the commission within a year of serving in elected office or as an election official. The terms of all commissioners shall be for 4 years, except that the first appointments shall be as follows: the members appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives shall be appointed for terms of 2 years, the members appointed by the president of the senate shall be appointed for terms of 3 years, and the [member] members appointed by the governor shall be appointed for a term of 4 years. A member may be re-appointed upon the expiration of his or her term. The members shall elect annually a chairperson from among the members. Members shall be appointed and terms of office shall expire on July 1. Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner for the unexpired term. The secretary of state shall be recording officer and clerk of the commission, but shall have no vote in its decisions.

II. There shall be [5] 7 alternate members for the elections and ballot law commission. Two alternate members shall be appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives, one from each of the 2 major political parties in the state based on votes cast for governor in the most recent state general election. Two alternate members shall be appointed by the president of the senate, one from each of the 2 major political parties in the state based on votes cast for governor in the most recent state general election. [One] Two alternate [member] members shall be appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the council, one from each of the 2 major political parties in the state based on votes cast for governor in the most recent state general election and shall be [a person] persons particularly qualified by experience in election procedure. One member shall be appointed by the New Hampshire supreme court and shall be an attorney in good standing and licensed to practice in the state of New Hampshire. The alternate members appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives and the president of the senate shall not be members of the general court. No person shall be appointed as an alternate who is registered as a lobbyist. The terms of all alternate members shall be for 4 years, except that the first appointments shall be as follows: the alternate members appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives shall be appointed for terms of 2 years, the alternate members appointed by the president of the senate shall be appointed for terms of 3 years, and the alternate [member] members appointed by the governor shall be appointed for a term of 4 years. The term of each new alternate member shall begin on July 1.

2 Alternate Member. Amend RSA 665:2 to read as follows:

665:2 Alternate Member. There shall be [5] 7 members present in person at all meetings. In case any member of the commission is absent from any meeting or unable to perform his or her duties or disqualifies himself or herself as commissioner, an alternate member who shall have the same qualifications as those of the commissioner whose place he or she is temporarily filling shall perform the duties of the commissioner.

3 New Subdivision; Redistricting. Amend RSA 665 by inserting after section 17 the following new subdivision:

Redistricting

665:18 Redistricting Plan.

I. The elections and ballot law commission shall, following a public hearing, develop a plan for the apportionment of representative, senatorial, and executive council districts based on the most recent decennial census. The plan shall conform to the requirements of part II, articles 9, 11, 11-a, 26, and 26-a of the New Hampshire constitution. The commission shall forward the plan to the speaker of the house of representatives and the president of the senate, and shall include proposals for legislation necessary to effectuate the plan.

II. Upon delivery of the plan pursuant to paragraph I, the elections and ballot law commission shall make available to the public:

(a) Copies of the plan.

(b) Maps illustrating the plan.

(c) A statement of the population of each district included in the plan, and the relative deviation of each district population from the ideal district population.

III. The elections and ballot law commission is authorized to hire consultants and to purchase software and other equipment necessary to assist the commission in developing the redistricting plan. If there are not sufficient funds appropriated to the elections and ballot law commission to pay for the consultants or equipment, the governor, upon request of the secretary of state, is authorized to draw a warrant for such sums from any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated.

665:19 Redistricting Standards.

I. Districts shall be established on the basis of population. Each representative, senatorial, and executive council district shall have a population as nearly equal as practicable to the ideal district population. Ideal district population shall be determined by dividing the number of districts to be established into the population of the state reported in the latest federal decennial census.

II. No district shall be drawn for the purpose of favoring a political party, incumbent legislator, or other person or group. No district shall be drawn for the purpose of augmenting or diluting the voting strength of a language or racial minority group. In establishing districts, no use shall be made of any of the following data:

(a) Addresses of incumbent legislators.

(b) Political affiliations of registered voters.

(c) Previous election results.

(d) Demographic information, other than population head counts, except as required by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

III. In order to minimize electoral confusion and to facilitate communication within state legislative districts, each plan drawn under this subdivision shall provide that each representative district is wholly included within a single senatorial district and that, so far as possible, each representative and each senatorial district shall be included within a single congressional district. However, the standards established by paragraphs I and II shall take precedence where a conflict arises between those standards and the requirement, so far as possible, of including a representative or senatorial district within a single congressional district.

IV. Each bill embodying a plan drawn under this subdivision shall provide that any vacancy in the general court which takes office in the year ending in one, occurring at a time which makes it necessary to fill the vacancy at a special election, shall be filled from the same district which elected the representative or senator whose seat is vacant.

665:20 Timetable for Preparation of Plan.

I. The elections and ballot law commission shall forward the redistricting plan to the speaker of the house of representatives and the president of the senate before March 15 of each year ending in one. The house and senate standing committees with jurisdiction over election law matters shall each hold public hearings on the redistricting plan before the general court votes on the plan. It is the intent of this subdivision that the general court shall vote on the plan in either the house of representatives or the senate expeditiously, but not less than 30 days after the plan is received and made available to the members of the general court, under a procedure or rule permitting no amendments except those of a purely corrective nature. It is further the intent of this subdivision that if the bill is approved by the first house in which it is considered, it shall expeditiously be brought to a vote in the second house under a similar procedure or rule.

II. If the plan fails to be approved by a constitutional majority in either the house of representatives or the senate, the clerk of the house of representatives or the senate, as the case may be, shall at once transmit to the elections and ballot law commission reasons why the plan was not approved. The commission shall then prepare a second plan in accordance with RSA 665:19, and taking into account the reasons cited by the house of representatives or senate for its failure to approve the plan insofar as it is possible to do so within the requirements of RSA 665:19. The second plan shall be delivered to the speaker of the house of representatives and the president of the senate not later than May 1 of the year ending in one, or 21 days after the date of the vote by which the house of representatives or the senate fails to approve the plan submitted under paragraph I, whichever date is later. It is the intent of this subdivision that, if a second plan is necessary, it shall be brought to a vote not less than 15 days after the plan is made available to the members of the general court, in the same manner as prescribed for the plan under paragraph I, except that the plan shall be subject to amendment in the same manner as other bills.

III. If the second plan submitted by the elections and ballot law commission fails to be approved by a constitutional majority in either the house of representatives or the senate, the same procedure as prescribed by paragraph II shall be followed. If a third plan is required, it shall be delivered to the speaker of the house of representatives and the president of the senate not later than June 1 of the year ending in one, or 21 days after the date of the vote by which the house of representatives or the senate fails to approve the second plan submitted under paragraph II, whichever date is later. It is the intent of this subdivision that, if it is necessary to submit a plan under this paragraph, the plan be brought to a vote within the same time period after its delivery to the speaker of the house of representatives and the president of the senate as is prescribed for the plan submitted under paragraph II, and shall be subject to amendment in the same manner as other bills.

IV. If the census data necessary for the redistricting plan is unavailable by February 15 of the year ending in one, the dates set forth in this section shall be extended by a number of days equal to the number of days after February 15 of the year ending in one that the census data becomes available.

4 Reference Changes; Ballot Law Commission Renamed Elections and Ballot Law Commission. Amend the following RSA provisions by replacing “ballot law commission” with “elections and ballot law commission”: RSA 5:13; RSA 652:12, V; RSA 654:38; RSA 655:14-b, IV; RSA 655:31; RSA 656:40; RSA 656:41; RSA 656:42; RSA 659:84; RSA 660:3; RSA 660:6; RSA 660:9; RSA 660:9-a; RSA 660:15; RSA 660:16, I; RSA 665; RSA 666:14; and RSA 669:61, II.

5 Effective Date. This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

Links

SB45 at GenCourtMobile

Action Dates

Date Body Type

Bill Text Revisions

SB45 Revision: 12255 Date: Jan. 1, 2008, midnight

Docket