Tennessee’s congressional and state legislative lines are both drawn by the state legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto.
In the 2010 cycle, the Tennessee legislature passed congressional (HB 1558) and state House (HB 1555) plans on Jan. 13, 2012, which were signed on Jan. 26, 2012. The legislature passed a state Senate plan (SB 1514) on Jan. 19, 2012, which was signed on Feb. 9, 2012.
Tennessee’s congressional and state legislative district lines are drawn by the state legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto.
Tennessee state law does not impose a particular deadline for drawing either congressional or state legislative lines, though candidates must file for congressional and state legislative primary elections by Apr. 7, 2022. [Tenn. Code § 2-5-101(a)(1)] The legislative session is currently scheduled to begin on Jan. 12, 2021, and end on May 6, 2021.
Tennessee law expressly permits redrawing state legislative lines mid-decade, before the next Census. For congressional lines, a state statute seems to prohibit redrawing the lines mid-decade, though the legislature could alter that statute if it chose. [Tenn. Const. art. II, § 4; French v. Boner, 963 F.2d 890 (6th Cir. 1992); Tenn. Code § 2-16-102]
The legislature has not announced any specific plans for public input this cycle just yet.
Like all states, Tennessee must comply with constitutional equal population requirements and must abide by the Voting Rights Act and constitutional rules on race.
For Tennessee’s state legislative lines, the state constitution further requires that districts of more than one county preserve those counties whole where possible. State statutes noted in 2011 that it was the intention to split at most 30 counties to form state House districts, and that state legislative districts should be contiguous. These latter criteria may also be altered by the state legislature. [Tenn. Const. art. II, §§ 5-6; Tenn. Code § 3-1-102, -103; State ex rel. Lockert v. Crowell, 631 S.W.2d 702 (Tenn. 1982)]
The Tennessee legislature passed congressional (HB 1558) and state House (HB 1555) plans on Jan. 13, 2012, which were signed on Jan. 26, 2012. The legislature passed a state Senate plan (SB 1514) on Jan. 19, 2012, which was signed on Feb. 9, 2012.
The state Senate plans were challenged in state court, and upheld. [Moore v. Tennessee, 436 S.W.3d 775 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2014)]
Though an early challenge to the 1990-cycle districts was filed in federal court in 2001 (and rejected), it does not appear that any of the plans actually passed by the legislature was challenged in court. [Crone v. Darnell, 176 F. Supp. 2d 814 (W.D. Tenn. 2001)]