Montana Democrats Call on Legislative Republicans to Stop Attacks on the Districting and Apportionment Commission

Katherine Towell2021

Montana Democrats Call on Legislative Republicans to Stop Attacks on the Districting and Apportionment Commission

State legislator on the record submitting public comment pressuring adoption of guidelines proposed in HB 506

Helena, MT — As the Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission meets today to consider public comment on criteria for the redistricting process, the Montana Democratic Party calls on GOP lawmakers in the legislature to stop their intrusions on the independence of the Commission immediately.

“The GOP began attacking the Commission with their passage of HB 506, an unconstitutional bill signed into law by Gov. Greg Gianforte,” said Robyn Driscoll, Chair of the Montana Democratic Party. “The amended HB 506 was rammed through both chambers of the legislature in a matter of hours, and without public hearings. The bill is an obviously unconstitutional power grab from Republican leadership. The independence of the Commission from unconstitutional interference by the legislature has been repeatedly affirmed through judicial review. The precedent is clear — the responsibility of determining redistricting guidelines falls to the Commission, and the Commission only.”

Unsatisfied with passing unconstitutional legislation, Republicans have continued their attempts to wrestle control away from the independent Commission; Rep. Derek Skees wrote the Commission recently to emphasize the need for them to “adhere to the guidelines we set for you.”

“The only role granted to the legislature in the Montana constitution is one of recommendation,” said Sandi Luckey, Executive Director of the Montana Democratic Party. “Instead, some elected officials are using their positions to attempt unconstitutional interference, commandeer the process, and block fair districts. Ultimate authority over the redistricting process is with the Commission, not the legislature — and certainly not Derek Skees. We call on Representative Skees and Republican leadership to stop politicizing a process designed to preserve the voices of all Montana voters and protect the integrity of fair elections.”

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