Jan Brewer Decides Against Special Session on Redistricting

Posted November 29, 2011 at 5:20pm

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) has taken at least one option off the table when it comes to Republican efforts to battle an independent redistricting commission’s draft map.

In a statement, Brewer wrote that she “will not call a Special Session” in a Republican effort to “pursue a ballot proposal to repeal or reform” Proposition 106, the legal basis of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

The idea of repealing the law altogether had been bandied about among Republicans in Arizona. The Brewer statement is striking in that it is the first time since the redistricting fight blew up in early October that she has backed off of any options opposing the new map.

Brewer acknowledged the discussion about changing the law, writing, “I know that some legislators, especially those of my political family,” want her to call the special session.

“But we cannot act in haste — or in anger — when it comes to something as critical as the way in which Arizona draws its congressional and legislative districts,” she added.

Previously, Brewer removed the commission’s chairwoman with the consent of the state’s Republican-dominated Senate during a one-night special session called for that specific purpose. The Arizona Supreme Court overruled that action Nov. 17.

Both politicians and lawyers have been perplexed by what to do next. The commission and its reinstated chairwoman, Colleen Mathis, returned to work today.

State Senate President Steve Pierce told Roll Call last week that in moving forward, “the ball is in Gov. Brewer’s court.”

The commission’s map creates the possibility that Democrats could pick up seats in the state’s U.S. House delegation, even though Republicans control much of the state government. The new lines enraged state and national Republicans, and the redistricting debate devolved into one of the nastiest in the cycle.

Proposition 106 was passed in 2000. The intent of the initiative was to take the power of redrawing Congressional lines from politicians and put it in the hands of an independent body.