INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana House added a proposed Senate redistricting map to a bill that already included proposed House and congressional maps on a mostly partisan vote Wednesday.
The Senate map was introduced just a day before being placed in HB 1581 without public testimony.
“Part of the reason we’re doing this is because it’ll go through the process over in the Senate, they’ll have their hearings, their committee hearings and everything,” said bill author Rep. Greg Steuerwald, R-Avon. “But if we do this … we’re not going to have to come back for a concurrence, assuming there’s no amendments.”
If the opposite chamber changes a bill after the original chamber passes it, members from the original chamber must concur with the changes for the bill to continue to the governor for signing. House leaders said they hoped to avoid scheduling a concurrence meeting.
Representatives heard testimony last week about the House and congressional maps, released Sept. 14, which had minor amendments in committee Monday to equalize populations between districts and avoid splitting a Fort Wayne apartment complex. Later that day, the full chamber voted 63-30 to advance the maps.
Democrats criticized the redistricting process, noting that the House amended the Senate maps into the redistricting bill before upcoming public testimony Monday, Sept. 27. This eliminates much of the back-and-forth of bills between chambers; GOP leaders said House members could come back Oct. 1 to approve any changes made on the Senate side.
“The representatives are going to be voting on a Senate map having heard zero public input on it,” Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington, said before the House convened. “I think that’s a mistake, (and) we ought to reject that amendment.”
Pierce and fellow Democrats made a last-ditch effort to introduce their own maps, submitted by a citizen and updated to conform to legal requirements for contiguous districts. Pierce said that Republicans had an undeserved supermajority in the House with 69 seats, or 69% of the members, when they garnered closer to 56% of the vote in statewide elections.
“Our proposal, an alternative citizen map, will better reflect that. The truth is, it still favors the Republicans two or three more seats than they deserve but it’s much closer to the baseline,” Pierce said in a news conference before representatives met. “I think it will give them about 59 seats.”
Pierce promoted the map as more competitive over compact, which Republicans prioritized in their proposed maps. The map was submitted as part of the Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting mapping competition.
The amendment failed along partisan lines, 68-27.
The next vote will be in the Senate Elections Committee on Sept. 28, followed by Senate votes on first, second and third reading on Sept. 28, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, respectively.