Redistricting Home
Introduction Pre-1950 The 1950s The 1960s The 1970s The 1980s The 1990s 2000 and Beyond
Front page of Initiative 199 Voter's Pamphlet The 1950s
Major Years:1954, 1956, 1957, 1958; Major Players:The League of Women Voters, The Legislature, The Voters

The League of Women Voters began their first major battle with the Legislature over redistricting measures in the 1950s. After more than two decades with no substantial legislative reapportionment, League members published a pamphlet on the issue in 1954. The League initially supported a proposal for a special redistricting commission made by State Senator Wilbur Hallauer, but the failure of this effort as well as one by the Legislative Council finally prompted the League to develop its own strategy.

League members helped to draft and rally support for Initiative 199, which reapportioned seats in the State Senate and House based on new population figures established by the 1950 census. Despite strong opposition from many legislators, the initiative passed in 1956 with about 54% of the vote.

Not to be outdone, the Legislature responded by amending the initiative and redrawing many of the district boundaries established by the League. The mastermind behind this effort was Senate Majority Leader R.R. "Bob" Greive. A companion piece of legislation, Senate Joint Resolution 12, proposed the establishment of a redistricting commission that could act if the Legislature did not. The measure was placed on the 1958 ballot as a constitutional amendment, but did not pass.

Oral History
Newspaper Articles
Pre-1950s 1954