In the elections on Tuesday, November 2, 2010, several jurisdictions across the country passed ballot measures relating to campaign finance, lobbying, ethics and redistricting. The new rules in five jurisdictions are discussed in brief below.
In Utah, voters passed a constitutional amendment (Constitutional Amendment D) creating a legislative ethics commission. The commission will consist of five individuals, and no member may be a sitting legislator or a registered lobbyist. The commission will be authorized to conduct an initial review of complaints made against lawmakers.
In New York City, voters passed revisions to the New York City Charter (Question 2) creating new campaign finance rules. The new rules require reporting by a person or an entity spending $1,000 or more on independent expenditures. Also, entities spending $5,000 or more on independent expenditures will be required to report contributors.
Several jurisdictions passed ballot measures regarding redistricting. In California, voters passed a proposition (Proposition 20) amending the California Constitution regarding congressional redistricting. This proposition authorizes the California Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw congressional district boundaries. The California Citizens Redistricting Commission already has responsibility for drawing state legislative district boundaries.
In Florida, two redistricting initiatives (Florida Amendments 5 and 6) passed, and they contain several requirements about drawing state legislative and congressional district boundaries. The initiatives require that no district be drawn with the intent to favor or disfavor any party or incumbent, that no district be drawn with the intent or result of denying or abridging the equal opportunity of minorities to participate in the political process or diminishing their ability to choose representatives of their choice, and that districts consist of contiguous territory. In addition, the initiatives call for districts to be as nearly equal in population as practicable, to be compact, and, where feasible, to utilize existing political and geographical boundaries. Two congressmen already have filed a lawsuit seeking to block the amendment regarding congressional redistricting.
In Oklahoma, a ballot measure to amend the Oklahoma Constitution passed (State Question 748) that alters the membership of the Oklahoma Reapportionment Commission. The Commission is tasked with drawing state legislative boundaries if the state legislature fails to do so.