January 29th, 2010
GOP bills would establish objective guidelines, bipartisan review of other states’ best practices
STATEHOUSE (Jan. 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 best redistricting practices used by other states.
“We are establishing guidelines because there has been little discretion either in Indiana law or the Indiana Constitution regarding redistricting,” said Sen. Sue Landske (R-Cedar Lake). “These new objective principles will be helpful when constructing new districts next session and beyond.”
Landske co-authored Senate Bill 80, which passed by a vote of 47-1, to provide lawmakers with the following guidelines to keep in mind when drawing legislative and congressional districts in the future:
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, authored by Landske, 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 openly discuss what is and is not working among the other 49 states’ redistricting efforts,” Landske said. “I think that it’s important that we take time to allow Hoosiers the opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns on this issue. Then, we can make decisions that best serve our constituents.”
SB 80 and SB 136 now move to the House of Representatives for further consideration.
Sen. Landske represents Senate District 6, which includes Benton, Lake, Newton and Porter counties.