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.