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Redistricting Reform Appears Dead at Statehouse

Bosma: Senate-passed bill conflicts with case law

(INDIANAPOLIS) - A baby step toward redistricting reform appears dead for the year at the statehouse.

The Senate passed a bill requiring legislators to track city and county lines as much as possible when drawing new legislative maps. But the Supreme Court is preparing to rule on whether it's legal to purposely favor one party or the other with the maps. House Speaker Brian Bosma has supported broader redistricting reform in the past, but says there's no point in passing a bill that might become dated by June.

And Bosma says the bill didn't properly reflect existing case law.

The Supreme Court has ruled in the past that it's unconstitutional to either overrepresent or underrepresent minorities in particular districts, while forbidding legislators from explicitly discussing it. The Senate bill would have made the commitment to proper minority representation part of state law, but saying so explicitly might create a problem. Bosma won't comment directly on whether that provision was what concerned him, but says the bill would likely have required consulting with national election-law experts, and says this year's abbreviated session isn't long enough for that.

Senate Democrats and some Republicans have argued for an independent redistricting commission to draw the maps. Those bills didn't get a hearing in either chamber.

Indiana doesn't redraw its maps till 2021.

(Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)

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