This blog post is going to go into technical language, so bear with me.
Last September, the Washington State Democratic Central Committee passed a resolution giving guidance for legislative districts on how to handle the upcoming changes due to Redistricting. Here's the language, from a letter sent by Jaxon Ravens, WSDCC Executive Director, on November 4th, 2011:
- The State Central Committee directs legislative district organizations to begin meeting within their new geographic boundaries from the redistricting commission within 30 days of adoption of the redistricting plan by the legislature. This means that either your January or your February legislative district (LD) meeting will be the first to correspond to the new LD boundaries. This meeting will be convened by leadership the LD had prior to redistricting, and shall be conducted according to the by‐laws of the “Old Legislative District” (OLD). This “New Legislative District” (NLD) can decide to elect new leaders, under the provisions of its by‐laws; and it can choose to amend its by‐laws.
So, the assumption from this language was that the Redistricting Commission would be submitting their final plan to the legislature, and that the legislature would be adopting the plan. I told attendees at the meet and greet at the Kenmore Library that the new boundaries take effect "when the legislature acts", and that the currently open at-large position would not be open for persons who reside within LFP/K unless the legislature acts prior to the 19th.
Which opened up a question, when was the legislature going to act? To find out, Sarajane and I reached out to Rep. Sam Hunt (D-22), chair of the State Government & Tribal Affairs committee in the Olympia House of Representatives. His answer was a surprise:
- The Redistricting Commission adopted the plan on January 1. It does not have to be adopted by the Legislature; we can only make technical changes, but we do not have to adopt the plan.
To confirm that, I went back to the Redistricting Commission website, and looked at their Frequently Asked Questions page. This is what I found:
- A redistricting plan must be approved by three of the four voting Commission members. This plan becomes final unless it is amended by the Legislature within 30 days after the beginning of the next regular or special legislative session.
So, I was wrong on Tuesday night. The legislature doesn't "act" exactly. Todd Nichols, chair of the WSDCC Rules Committee nuanced it this way this morning via email:
- ... I would say that the legislature will "act" to seal the plan by its inaction after 30 days. There is no indication that the legislature has any plans to amend the Commission's plan that I'm aware of. We want everyone to be able to get a jump on the new organizations given the nature of this election year.
What is all this leading to? I'm going to rule that all members of the "New 46th Legislative District", which includes the precincts in Lake Forest Park and Kenmore, are eligible to run for the currently open At-Large position on the Executive Board, even BEFORE the district membership considers amendments to our bylaws that would increase the number of At-Large members and require that one of the top four positions be held by someone from LFP/K.
If anyone has any questions, please let me know.
Chair, 46th District Democrats