legislature_0203WAKE COUNTY — A bill to redesign the districts for the Wake County Board of Commissioners is on the fast track at the General Assembly.

A proposal to overhaul the current district map was introduced on Wednesday, and by Thursday afternoon, it was in committee getting public comment.

After last fall’s election, the entire Wake County Board of Commission turned blue, every member a Democrat. On Wednesday, Wake County State Sen. Chad Barefoot, a Republican, introduced a bill to re-draw the districts in Wake.

“What this bill is seeking to do is provide more representation for eastern Wake County’s rural communities and the small towns in Wake County, which I might add, make up half of the population of Wake County. And right now, five of the seven members are from Raleigh,” said Sen. Chad Barefoot, Wake County.

Under Barefoot’s proposal, the current seven member board would be increased to nine members.

Right now, the current members are all elected at-large or by the full county electorate.

Under the proposal, seven districts, mirroring the districts drawn last year by Republicans for school board seats, would be elected only by members of the district.

The two new seats would be at large. Some opponents say these changes are drastic and unnecessary.

“Because you lose an election, you don’t immediately turn around and change the rules to throw out the results of that election. So you can win the next one. It’s offensive to our democracy,” said Sen. Josh Stein, Wake County.

Just one day after the bill was first filed in the legislature, it was put on a committee calendar for consideration.

While no votes were taken, members of the public were given a chance to speak, and they say this is all moving too fast.

“Complex problems require divergent solutions. And actually I don’t think that we’ve had enough time to look at this bill. I think that it needs further study,” said James West, Wake County commission chair.

The committee chair says he expects the first on this bill to be taken next week.

Under the proposal, no sitting commissioners would lose his or her seat as a result of the new districts, and the new districts would not become fully effective until 2018.

– Loretta Boniti