State Politics

Judicial maps won’t be redrawn this session

Proposed district court districts and divisions.
Proposed district court districts and divisions. N.C. General Assembly

The bill to redraw judicial districts in North Carolina will not advance this session, the legislation’s sponsor said Tuesday.

Rep. Justin Burr, a Republican from Albemarle, told The News & Observer that House Bill 717 will be taken up when the General Assembly returns in a few months. That is when a special redistricting session could occur.

Burr introduced the bill in a House committee on Monday, where it was approved and calendared for consideration by the full House on Tuesday. Democrats and some court officials said the bill was too significant to be rushed through at the end of session.

On Tuesday, Burr said he thought he would have more time to advance the proposal. He said the governor vetoed the budget earlier than he anticipated, narrowing the time frame that the bill could be moved through both chambers. Legislative leaders say they anticipate ending the session as early as this week.

“I look forward to debating HB 717 when the General Assembly returns in a few months,” Burr said. “In the meantime, I will continue to welcome feedback from those interested in the common sense and badly needed judicial district reforms I am proposing in HB 717.

“The General Assembly has a responsibly to fix the gerrymandered and disproportionate judicial districts crafted by the Democrat Party, and I fully expect this fix to happen before the 2018 election.”

The legislature also has to redraw legislative and congressional districts because judges have ruled them to be unconstitutionally racial gerrymanders.

Democrats complained that Burr’s bill, which would redraw maps for superior court, district court and district attorney elections, was crafted to benefit Republicans. Burr said the intent was to redistrict based on population growth, geography and workloads.

Craig Jarvis: 919-829-4576, @CraigJ_NandO