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Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

GOP leaders tell Dems to pull redistricting amendment

By Nikita Biryukov, December 14 2018 12:30 pm

Republican legislative leaders are calling on Democrats to pull the constitutional amendment on redistricting after hours of testimony in two hearings on the matter yesterday saw no witnesses other than the measure’s sponsors testifying in favor.

“It would be an act of utter hubris for the Democratic majorities to forge ahead with the constitutional amendment in defiance of such clear public opposition,” said Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean. “They should demonstrate that they’ve heard the massive outcry and do the right thing by cancelling Monday’s planned votes on this partisan gerrymandering scheme.”

The amendment would impose a fairness formula on the state’s redistricting process for legislative districts. It would require that at least a quarter of the state’s 40 legislative districts have vote margins that fall within 5% of the average of statewide elections over the 10 years preceding reapportionment.

The measure would also reduce the number of picks made to the redistricting commission party state chairs make from five to two, giving two picks to two legislative leaders from both parties.

State Sen. Nicholas Scutari, the amendment’s Senate sponsor, said he believed the measure would appear on the floor during Senate and Assembly sessions on Monday.

Thursday’s hearings featured opposition from liberal and non-partisan group, as well as the Republican leaders themselves.

“When progressive groups and Republicans come together to oppose a bill, you know it must be a bad concept,” Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick said. “The majority just wants to keep power for the rest of the century in New Jersey, but that is not how democracy works.”

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