Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) today announced the start of Tennessee’s first judicial redistricting process in nearly 30 years. Joined by Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) and Rep. Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol), sponsors of the judicial redistricting bill (SB 780/ HB 636), Lt. Governor Ramsey declared the process open to all and publicly solicited input from the general public as well as stakeholders in the legal community.
“Just over a year ago, our Republican majority conducted the most open and transparent legislative redistricting process in state history,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. “We aim to do likewise with judicial redistricting. The last time our judicial districts were updated Waylon Jennings and Michael Jackson were at the top of the charts. Tennessee is a far different place that it was in 1984. Formerly rural counties have become thoroughly suburban and our suburban counties now confront problems similar to urban areas.”
“We desperately need to take a fresh look at this judicial map to ensure Tennesseans receive the best possible service from their judges, district attorneys and public defenders,” he continued.
Senate Majority Leader Norris said, “Tennessee had only five counties with 100,000 people or more after the 1980 census. It now has 12. We need to take a look at this map with modern eyes in order to ensure resources are allocated in the most efficient way possible. I’d like to encourage all Tennesseans with an interest to join this process and make sure their voices are heard and their perspectives considered.”
“It is very important to seize the opportunity to update our judicial map while we have the chance,” said Rep. Lundberg. “We cannot in good conscience let a map that allows inefficiency to remain in place for another decade. I’d like to echo Lt. Governor Ramsey and Leader Norris and urge anyone with ideas on how best to update our judicial map to get involved and submit their ideas.”
Tennessee currently has thirty-one judicial districts which determine the areas judges, district attorneys and public defenders serve. The last judicial redistricting occurred in 1984 -- nearly thirty years ago.
To be considered, submitted plans must use 2010 federal census data and redistrict the entire state. Plans must contain a total of 31 districts or fewer and districts must be comprised of whole counties. Regional integrity, geographic boundaries and ease of inter-county travel must also be considered.
Full guidelines and instructions on how to submit a judicial district plan are available online at http://www.capitol.tn.gov/senate/judredist/judredist.html