Saturday, October 23, 2021

Play

Some states entice people back to the workplace by increasing safety standards and higher minimum wage; Bannon held in Contempt of Congress; and the latest cyber security concerns.

Play

House votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress; Trump announces new social media platform TRUTH Social; and the Biden administration says it will continue to expel migrants under Title 42.

Play

An all-Black Oklahoma town joins big cities in seeking reparations; a Kentucky vaccination skeptic does a 180; telehealth proves invaluable during pandemic; and spooky destinations lure tourists at Halloween.

Potential OR Initiative Could Cut Down on Gerrymandering

Play

Friday, June 26, 2020   

PORTLAND, Ore. - Oregon stands out on the West Coast for the way its voting districts are drawn. Unlike neighbors California, Idaho and Washington, redistricting in Oregon is a political process decided by the party in power.

The threat of gerrymandering is high. Executive Director of Common Cause Oregon Kate Titus says politicians typically draw districts behind closed doors using elaborate data.

"If you move that line over one block and include this block in this district instead of that district," asks Titus, "how's it going to affect their political power? So, that sophisticated analysis is happening - it's just not open to the public, and that's really the problem."

Titus says a coalition of groups is looking to change that.

Signatures are being collected for an initiative to create an independent, nonpartisan redistricting commission. Its backers have until July 2 to collect about 150,000 signatures.

Critics of the idea say creating the commission would leave out some marginalized groups. Titus counters that an independent redistricting commission would invite the public to participate in the process.

"It's all out in the open and it centers around community input," says Titus. "So, a lot of public testimony, so that the commission itself is really responding to the needs of communities as the communities themselves see them."

The novel coronavirus has thrown a wrench into the signature-collecting process.

Titus says the campaign had to get creative. The coalition, known as "People Not Politicians," mailed petitions to a half-million households in the state.

She says folks can sign it from home, too.

"If they had a computer at home, they could print out a petition on their computers, sign it and mail it in," says Titus.

She says getting an independent commission passed this year is especially important. Districts are drawn once a decade - and that happens next year, using 2020 Census data.

Support for this reporting was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.




get more stories like this via email

California has collected more than 600 tons of unwanted prescription drugs since the Take-Back Day program began in 2010. (Dodgerton Skillhause/Morguefile)

Health and Wellness

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, when the Drug Enforcement Administration encourages everyone to clean out …


Health and Wellness

BALTIMORE - This month marks the four-year anniversary of the #MeToo movement, and an art project aims to help incarcerated survivors heal by telling …

Social Issues

OGDEN, Utah - Utah is one of only a handful of states that taxes food, but one state legislator says taxing groceries should become a thing of the …


In a new poll, 71% of all registered voters support strengthening rules to reduce oil and gas methane pollution, including 73% of Independents and 50% of Republicans. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

CASPER, Wyo. - A strong majority of voters across party lines say they want national rules similar to those passed in Wyoming to reduce methane …

Health and Wellness

ARLINGTON, Va. - Although COVID-19 rates have gone down, the virus continues to hit the Hispanic community especially hard. Now, a new campaign aims …

Child-care advocates say if North Dakota doesn't boost funding for the system, more families might pull out of the workforce because of access issues. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

BISMARCK, N.D. - A portion of American Rescue Plan funding sent to North Dakota has yet to be divvied up. Groups that want to improve the child-care …

Social Issues

PITTSBURGH - As businesses across the country deal with a massive labor shortage, Pennsylvania aims to entice people back to the workplace by …

Environment

ALBANY, N.Y. - Environmental groups want Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign a bill that mandates monitoring the state's drinking water for "emerging …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021