Introduced by Representatives Schiavone of Shelburne, Dowland of Holland, Monti of Barre City and Pillsbury of Brattleboro
Subject: Reapportionment; senatorial districts; Chittenden County
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to create the legislative apportionment board and direct it to prepare a plan for reapportioning the Chittenden County senatorial district into districts with no more than three members.
AN ACT RELATING TO REAPPORTIONMENT OF THE CHITTENDEN COUNTY SENATORIAL DISTRICT
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. DEFINITIONS
As used in this act:
(1) “Apportionment standard for the senate” means the number obtained by dividing the total population in the state by the number of members of the senate.
(2) “Board” means the legislative apportionment board.
(3) “Population” means the most recent census taken under the authority of Congress or a special census ordered to be taken by the general assembly.
Sec. 2. STANDARDS
(a) The Chittenden County senatorial district shall be reapportioned and redistricted on the basis of population.
(b) The standard for creating districts for the election of senators of the Chittenden County senatorial district shall be to form senatorial districts with no more than three members with minimum percentages of deviation from the apportionment standard for the senate. The senatorial districts shall be formed consistent with the following policies insofar as practicable:
(1) preservation of existing political subdivision lines;
(2) recognition and maintenance of patterns of geography, social interaction, trade, political ties, and common interests;
(3) use of compact and contiguous territory.
Sec. 3. LEGISLATIVE APPORTIONMENT BOARD
(a) There is hereby created the legislative apportionment board, consisting of a special master designated by the chief justice of the supreme court; one voter, a resident of the state of Vermont for five years immediately preceding the appointment, appointed by the governor from each political party which polled at least 25 percent of the votes cast for governor at the last general election; and one voter, a resident of the state of Vermont for the five years immediately preceding the appointment, elected by the state committee of each of those political parties, a quorum of each committee being present and voting. No member of the board shall serve as a member or employee of the general assembly, or of either house thereof. The special master shall be chair of the board and shall call such meetings as may be necessary for the accomplishment of the duties of the board hereafter set forth. The secretary of state shall be secretary of the board, but shall have no vote.
(b) Members of the board shall first be selected on or before July 1, 2005. The appointing or electing authority shall fill vacancies.
(c) For administrative purposes, the board shall be part of the office of the secretary of state, and funds for the board’s operation shall be appropriated for the secretary of state; provided, however, that expenditures of such appropriation shall be directed by the board.
(d) Members of the board not receiving a salary from the state shall receive per diem compensation and expenses as provided in section 1010 of Title 32.
(e) The board may employ or contract for such expert assistants or services, or both, as may be necessary to carry out its duties.
Sec. 4. SENATORIAL DISTRICTS; CHITTENDEN COUNTY
On or before January 1, 2006, the board shall prepare a proposal for reapportionment of the Chittenden County senatorial district, apportioning the six senatorial seats into districts with no more than three members within the boundaries of the current district, in such manner as to achieve substantial equality in the choice of members as guaranteed by the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The chair of the board shall transmit such proposal to the secretary of the senate and the clerk of the house, and it shall be referred to the appropriate committees. The general assembly shall then accept the proposal and enact it into law or substitute another plan for reapportionment of the Chittenden County senatorial district.
Sec. 5. POWERS OF THE LEGISLATIVE APPORTIONMENT BOARD
The legislative apportionment board shall have the following powers:
(1) To call for, and receive, the assistance of any state, county, or municipal official or employee in obtaining information regarding the population in any county, town, city, village, ward, precinct, or water, fire, or school district;
(2) To hold public hearings in any town or city for the purpose of obtaining information relevant to reapportionment of the Chittenden County senatorial district;
(3) To delegate, under regulations adopted by it, any of the foregoing powers to one or more of its members, or to investigators or hearing examiners in its employ.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street