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During the 2009-2010 session of the General Assembly, 10 Republican Senators co-sponsored a bill introduced by Republican Pete Brunstetter to set up an independent commission to draw the lines for Congressional and General Assembly districts.

The ten Republicans included current Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, current Rules Chair Tom Apodaca, current Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown, and current Senate Redistricting Committee Chair Bob Rucho.

Berger and his fellow Republicans believed that turning over the process of drawing districting lines to a nonpartisan commission was in the best interests of the people of North Carolina.

Monday night, Democratic Senator Dan Blue offered an amendment to the Republicans’ redistricting plan that would have turned over future redistricting duties to the independent commission that Berger last year thought was so important.

Rules Chair Tom Apodaca moved to table the amendment,  a parliamentary move that not only cuts off debate but prevents a roll call vote on the actual amendment.

All the Republicans went along of course and Blue’s amendment was tabled on a party-line vote. 

An idea that Berger and Apadoca supported last session was not even worthy of a discussion this year, much less a vote.

And that’s not the most disturbing part. Blue’s amendment wasn’t mentioned in many of the stories about the redistricting debate.

Republican hypocrisy in Raleigh isn’t news anymore.

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Legislators who return to Raleigh later this month to take up redistricting got an earful Thursday from citizens across North Carolina.

House and Senate Redistricting committee members held a six hour public hearing at seven locations around the state, all connected via videoconference.

Catawba Couty resident Judith Ivester, who described herself as a Independent voter, told Republican lawmakers that “this is not democracy, this is revenge.” She complained under the proposed maps, Hickory would become politically insignificant with the city carved up into three congressional districts – the 5th, the 10th, and the 11th.

But Guilford County resident Jeff Hyde praised Republicans for being “noble” in drawing the new districts. Hyde said after years gerrymandering, he had hoped the GOP would “stick it to the Democrats.”

Reverend William Barber, the president of the NC NAACP, called efforts to pack and stack the districts  “a perversion of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.” Barber promised the redistricting chairs the matter was headed to the courts.

Republican legislators say the district maps are fair and legal.

To hear a portion of Thursday’s videoconference, click below:
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(Our apologies for the technical issue causing the flickering on the left side of the screen.)