The Oregon Legislature passed a bill put forth by Common Cause and the Redistricting Matters Coalition to bring more public input and transparency to the redistricting process.
HB 2974 requires legislators to hold public hearings around the state when re-drawing state legislative and Congressional districts after each census . Public hearings have been used for this purpose during several past redistricting cycles, but until now, they have been the exception rather than the rule. The new law will ensure citizens have a way to follow the process more closely and to have a voice, for instance by educating legislators about existing communities of interest that should be kept in the same district. The law requires at least 10 initial public hearings early in the process, followed by at least 5 more after draft maps are available. In addition to in-person opportunities to provide input, this legislation also provides for the use of video testimony to empower Oregonians who live in remote areas of the state to tell their story. HB 2974 is expected to land on Gov. Brown’s desk in early June.