An e-mail from Indiana Senator Pro Tem David Long (R-16th):
Senate approves sweeping redistricting reforms
GOP bills would establish objective guidelines, bipartisan review of other states’ best practices
(January 28, 2010) Lawmakers today approved Senate Republicans’ sweeping redistricting reforms establishing objective guidelines for creating legislative and congressional districts after the 2010 census and requiring an in-depth bipartisan review of redistricting best practices used by other states.
“These new objective principles will provide lawmakers with better guidelines to use when constructing new legislative and congressional districts next session and beyond,” said President Pro Tem David Long.
Long said Senate Bill 80, which passed by a vote of 47-1, will require lawmakers to consider the following factors when drawing future districts:
- Preservation of traditional neighborhoods;
- Preservation of local communities of interests;
- Protection of minority voting rights;
- Simply-shaped, compact districts; and
- Respect for county and precinct lines.
Senators also voted 45-3 to approve legislation creating an in-depth bipartisan study of best practices of other states. Senate Bill 136 would establish the Redistricting Study Committee and task the panel with examining ways to improve the redistricting process including proposals to establish an independent commission to draw legislative and congressional district boundaries.
“This committee will allow us to have an open and informed discussion on how to improve the drawing of Indiana’s legislative maps,” said Long “We would also be able to learn what other states’ are doing to enhance their redistricting efforts.”
SB 80 and SB 136 now move to the House of Representatives for further consideration.