Sandoval vetoes Dems’ reapportionment plan

Geoffrey Lawrence

On Saturday, Governor Brian Sandoval officially vetoed legislative Democrats’ redistricting plan, as embodied in SB 497. The veto message was just read on the Senate floor this morning. Here is the key passage:

This bill relates to the revision of legislative and Congressional districts in our state. In my State of the State address, I said that legislative and Congressional districts should be drawn for a fair representation of all constituents-and that they be consistent with the law. This bill fails to meet both standards.

In 1965, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act (“the Act”). The Act prohibits states from using the redistricting process to dilute the voting strength of minority communities. In doing so, the Act ensures, consistent with my call at the State of the State, that lines of representation be drawn to afford minority communities equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choice. The central mechanisms by which the Act ensures such outcomes are simple: no fracturing and no packing of such communities.

The redistricting plan reflected in this bill does not comply with the Act. In the last ten years, the Hispanic community in our state has grown significantly. Indeed, recent Census figures reveal that one in four Nevadans are of Hispanic decent. The law and common sense-requires that we recognize this fact and afford Hispanics an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choosing.

For NPRI’s coverage of the redistricting debate, see Kyle Gillis’s investigative reporting on the topic.

Geoffrey Lawrence

Geoffrey Lawrence

Director of Research

Geoffrey Lawrence is director of research at Nevada Policy.

Lawrence has broad experience as a financial executive in the public and private sectors and as a think tank analyst. Lawrence has been Chief Financial Officer of several growth-stage and publicly traded manufacturing companies and managed all financial reporting, internal control, and external compliance efforts with regulatory agencies including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  Lawrence has also served as the senior appointee to the Nevada State Controller’s Office, where he oversaw the state’s external financial reporting, covering nearly $10 billion in annual transactions. During each year of Lawrence’s tenure, the state received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Award from the Government Finance Officers’ Association.

From 2008 to 2014, Lawrence was director of research and legislative affairs at Nevada Policy and helped the institute develop its platform of ideas to advance and defend a free society.  Lawrence has also written for the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, with particular expertise in state budgets and labor economics.  He was delighted at the opportunity to return to Nevada Policy in 2022 while concurrently serving as research director at the Reason Foundation.

Lawrence holds an M.A. in international economics from American University in Washington, D.C., an M.S. and a B.S. in accounting from Western Governors University, and a B.A. in international relations from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.  He lives in Las Vegas with his beautiful wife, Jenna, and their two kids, Carson Hayek and Sage Aynne.