Indiana chambers pass redistricting legislation

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April 21, 2011

BP Redistricting logo.jpg

By Tyler Millhouse

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana: On Wednesday, both chambers of the Indiana General Assembly approved redistricting plans. The plans, authored by the state's Republican majority, include both congressional and state legislative maps. The plans passed the chambers on predominantly party-line votes.[1]

In the house, Republicans altered the original bill, redrawing a district which paired two house Democrats.[2]

Overall, both plans appear to benefit Republicans. Most notably, the congressional map places Democrat Joe Donnelly's District 2 seat in Republican-friendly terrtory. As an alternative, Donnelly is considering a run for the US Senate or the governorship.[3][4] In addition, the map strengthens Republican representatives Larry Bucshon and Todd Young in Districts 8 and 9, respectively.[5]

Changes on the state level were less pronounced but still seem to favor state Republicans. Demographic changes over the last decade have also strengthened Republican districts, as 21 of the 30 house districts that lost population are currently controlled by Democrats. Speaker of the House Brian Bosma (R) stated that maps were created with an aim to eliminate gerrymandering and create compact districts. Critics, however, charge that maps should strive for compact districts and increased competition.[6][7] According to state Democrats, the proposal would reduce the number of competitive districts from 24 to 14 and make most districts without an incumbent strongly Republican.[8]

Both the plan and process have been sharply criticized by Democrats. Along with redistricting advocates, state Democrats have called for a slower pace for the redistricting process despite the delays caused by the earlier 36-day Democratic boycott. Republicans leaders declined these requests, citing the looming April 29 deadline and a concern that a slower process would make room for trivial debates and partisan bickering.[9] While the GOP insists that the maps are not politically motivated, opponents are demanding more demographic data on the partisan breakdown of the new districts. Republicans point to public redistricting hearings and wide publication of the plans as proof of their commitment to transparency. Democrats have also criticized the maps for diluting or dividing minority communities. Republicans counter that federal guidelines have been closely followed in structuring minority representation.[10]

Since the plans were independently approved by the House and Senate, each bill now moves to the opposite chamber for concurrence. If either plan receives concurrence, it will proceed to Governor Mitch Daniels (R) for approval.[11]

See also

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External links

Republican-sponsored plans:

  • The congressional plan can be found here.
  • The senate plan can be found here.
  • The house plan can be found here.

Democratic-sponsored plans:

  • The congressional plan can be found here.
  • The senate plan can be found here.
  • The house plan can be found here.