The Oregon Constitution requires the adjustment of the legislative district boundaries for the offices of state Senator and state Representative every 10 years after the United States census is taken. This process is known as redistricting or reapportionment.
This measure amends the Oregon Constitution to change the date that the redistricting plan first applies, or becomes operative.
Currently, the constitution requires the Legislative Assembly to adopt a redistricting plan by July 1 of the year following the census (an odd-numbered year). If the legislature does not adopt a plan, the Secretary of State must file a redistricting plan with the Oregon Supreme Court by August 15 of the same year. The constitution allows for legal challenges to any redistricting plan and requires that a plan be operative no later than December 15 of the same year.
Since the redistricting plan goes into operation during legislative terms of office, this means that incumbent members of the legislature must be assigned to represent the new legislative districts for the remainder of their terms. State Representatives may represent an assigned district for more than one year. State Senators may represent an assigned district for more than two years.
This measure changes the date that the new redistricting plan becomes operative to the first day of the next regular legislative session that occurs after the plan is developed. Therefore, most members of the legislature could continue to represent the districts from which they were elected or appointed until the end of their terms. Some state Senators would have to be assigned to a new district for the final two years of their term of office.
However, the measure also provides that the new legislative districts would apply for purposes of nominating and electing members of the legislature at the primary and general elections in the even-numbered year after the final redistricting plan was developed.
Therefore, this measure allows the new legislative districts to apply for purposes of nominating and electing candidates from the new legislative districts, but does not require most incumbent members of the legislature to be assigned to and represent new legislative districts that are different from the districts from which they were elected or appointed.
Note: The explanatory statement for Measure 55 was provided by the 2007 Legislature as part of House Bill 2640.