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February 11, 2013

HOWEY: The results in for new district maps

(Continued)

But just because both parties do everything they can for a tilted playing field, doesn’t make it right. 

In 2011, House Speaker Brian C. Bosma, R-Indianapolis, and Senate President Pro Tempore David Long, R-Fort Wayne, were supportive of a constitutional amendment creating a non-partisan, independent redistricting commission.

But with a “full plate” this session, Bosma told me that the four bills and two joint resolutions on the topic  “probably” won’t move. 

“I remain a fan of the redistricting commission concept,” Bosma said. “I have chatted with the authors of the bills and resolutions, but there is so much that is critical on our plate right now. We have (eight) years until the next redistricting experience.”

Bosma added, “There are questions about the viability of it. I have spoken with leaders in other states that have redistricting commissions and they get mixed reviews.”

Bosma said that while other states had hoped to “remove partisanship from the process, it’s just moved partisanship to other posts.”

In 2011, Bosma wrote, “Currently, the Indiana Constitution requires the General Assembly to approve maps and that is what needs to happen in 2011.  This constitutional provision must be repealed for a commission to effectively address reapportionment in the future. Rep. Jerry Torr and I have once again coauthored House Joint Resolution 9 to begin the process of revising our constitution to allow an independent commission to tackle the job in the future.”

Long explained two years ago, “I am confident a transparent, open approach to the 2011 redistricting process that utilizes the new criteria proposed can create the fairest, most representative districts ever drawn in our state. That is certainly the goal of the Senate Republicans.” 

The new criteria called for new districts to follow county and township lines, to “nest” two House disricts into a Senate district, to maintain “communities of interest” and to forego the use of “political data” in their creation. The new maps do look more compact, unlike the lizard-shaped gerrymandered maps of 1991 and 2001.

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