Rhode Island enacts new legislative districts

Rhode Island enacted new legislative district boundaries on Feb. 16, 2022, when Gov. Dan McKee (D) signed redistricting legislation approved by the General Assembly. The maps will take effect for Rhode Island’s 2022 state legislative elections.

The state House of Representatives passed the new maps 57-6, and the state Senate approved them 29-9 on Feb. 15. State Representative Robert Phillips (D), co-chair of the state’s legislative Reapportionment Commission, said, “It was an honor and pleasure to work with such a dedicated group of individuals on this commission. I’m particularly proud of the fact that we obtained so much input from citizens around the state, holding our meetings in several cities and towns to make it more accessible to everyone. Reapportionment can be daunting and complex, but I’m glad we took everyone’s concerns into account and came up with a fair and equitable system of reapportionment.” 

John M. Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island, criticized the process and final maps because he felt incumbents were expressly favored. “This is the culmination of a years long effort to maintain the status quo. They did not hide the fact that the goal was to let the incumbents draw the maps as they pleased,” Marion said. Common Cause Rhode Island is an organization that describes itself as promoting “representative democracy by ensuring open, ethical, accountable, effective government processes.”

As of Feb. 17, 35 states have adopted legislative district maps for both chambers, and one state has adopted maps that have not yet gone into effect. The state supreme courts in two states have overturned previously enacted maps, and 12 states have not yet adopted legislative redistricting plans after the 2020 census. As of Feb. 16, 2012, 38 states had enacted legislative redistricting plans after the 2010 census.

Nationwide, states have completed legislative redistricting for 1,492 of 1,972 state Senate seats (75.7%) and 3,465 of 5,411 state House seats (64.0%).

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