LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed legislation updating maps for the state’s political districts on Tuesday afternoon, finishing work that took place in a special session of the Nevada Legislature.
“After a thoughtful, efficient and productive session, I am proud to sign these bills into law today,” Sisolak said. “These maps reflect Nevada’s diversity and reflect public feedback gathered throughout the legislative process.”
The maps were approved earlier Tuesday as the Legislature wrapped up the 33rd Special session in Carson City.
The changes passed 25-17 in the Nevada Assembly, and 12-9 in the Nevada Senate.
Observers are already speculating that Republicans and possibly other groups will file legal challenges to the new boundary lines.
“The maps passed today reflect our diverse and vibrant state and set us on a path for the next 10 years where the voices of all those who call Nevada home are represented,” according to a joint statement from Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson and Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro.
Advocates for Hispanic communities criticized the changes on Monday. Sandra Cosgrove, a history professor at the College of Southern Nevada, referred to “racial gerrymandering,” and predicted that Republicans would put up a fight in court.
“What the Latinos are saying is that if you do that you are pitting groups against each other,” Cosgrove said.
The new political boundaries will determine Nevada’s congressional, legislative, and Board of Regents districts. District lines change every 10 years to reflect population shifts discovered in the U.S. Census.
The statement released by Democrats details some of the changes reflected in the Census and the new maps:
- Proposed U.S. House districts account for massive population shifts in the Las Vegas Valley while minimizing splitting established local jurisdictions and keeping communities of interest together including North Las Vegas, Henderson, East Las Vegas, Sun Valley, Walker River Paiute Reservation, and the Reno Sparks Indian Colony
- Three of four proposed U.S. House districts have populations that are majority non-white. As proposed, CD1 continues to have the highest concentrated Hispanic and Latino population, CD4 maintains its traditionally high African-American density, and CD3 now contains an AAPI community of interest. All four congressional districts were majority white when drawn in 2011
- In the Legislature, 29 out of 63 proposed districts have a majority non-white population. In 2011, only seven total legislative districts were majority non-white
- Proposed maps include 29 legislative districts where Hispanic or Latino Nevadans make up greater than 25% of the population, including an increase in the number of Hispanic or Latino majority districts in both the State Senate and State Assembly
- African-Americans make up greater than 25% of the population in five proposed state legislative districts, an increase from three districts when current maps were enacted
- Asian-American and Pacific Islanders will make up greater than 25% of the population in five legislative districts, an increase from one when current maps were enacted in 2011. As proposed, Assembly District 8’s AAPI population will increase significantly, with 34.3% of the population identifying as Asian and 3.2% identifying as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander