NV governor again rejects Dems' redistricting map

Associated Press State Wire: Nevada (NV) - Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Author: MICHELLE RINDELS - Associated Press
Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval has struck down Democrats' second try at redistricting after several ethnically charged flare-ups between the political parties, a move that was expected but dimmed hopes that the issue would be resolved before the session ends next week. 

Sandoval said he vetoed the plan Tuesday for the same reason he vetoed Democrats' first set of maps. 

''The plan reflected in the bill did not provide for the fair representation of the people of the state of Nevada, nor did it comply with the Voting Rights Act of 1965,'' Sandoval wrote. 

Second drafts of the bill stirred conflict after Democrats refused to consider Republican plans until the GOP released certain census data that generated the maps. Republicans released the data, but then said they would only sit down at the negotiating table if Democrats adopted their pattern for distributing minorities. 

The Republican plan created one congressional district that had more than 50 percent Hispanic residents. Democrats described it as a ''packing scheme'' that would dilute the power of Hispanics in the other three districts. 

Republicans say the arrangement empowers Hispanics within the district. 

Negotiations fizzled, and the Democratic-controlled legislature advanced the Democratic plan. 

Legislators draw new boundaries for voting districts every 10 years based on updated census data. Nevada has grown so much in the past decade that it earned a fourth congressional district, which will be carved from the existing three. 

The process becomes highly political because one party can gain a 10-year power advantage depending on how the districts are drawn. 

Assemblyman Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, says Democrats are waiting to see if Republicans will negotiate on a third round of maps. If they don't, Democrats said they probably wouldn't release a third round of maps and the district boundaries would likely be decided in the courts over the next few months. 

While negotiations look unlikely with the frenzy of activity in the days before the session ends June 6, there's always the possibility of a game-changing event, he said. 

''It's just like the budget,'' Segerblom said, referring to a court decision last week that upended a state budget gridlock and prompted full-fledged discussions. ''All it takes is a little divine intervention.''