Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Senator Delph Wants Study Committee on Redistricting Process

From an editorial in today's Indianapolis Star, I have learned that Senator Mike Delph has authored Senate Concurrent Resolution 95, which would create a 'Census Data Study Committee' to examine the processes that could be used in 2011 to redraw new Districts according to the population numbers to be generated by the upcoming Census.

The editorial quotes Delph as saying, "Voters should pick their elected officials rather than elected officials picking their voters." Well said, sir. Well said.

Delph's Resolution has gained other authors; Senators Sue Landske (R, District 6), Timothy Lanane (D, District 25), and Connie Lawson (R, District 24). It passed out of the Senate Elections Committee on April 6 with a unanimous 'do pass' recommendation. The Star editorial reports that it was approved by the Senate on Monday and now awaits an uncertain future in the House.
There are two co-sponsors in the House; Representatives Matt Pierce (D, District 61) and Jerry Torr (R, District 39).

The Star sees this as an opportunity for Indiana to move past the old and tarnished practice of gerrymandering districts to ensure the incumbents retain their seats. This is the very thing that could kill this measure. The resolution does not carve out any particular aim of the study committee to bring Indiana out into the sunshine, rather it suggests

SECTION 1. That the Legislative Council is urged to direct the Census Data
Study Committee to study the topic of redistricting and to make recommendations on processes that could be utilized by the Indiana General Assembly to promote the establishment of easily identifiable boundaries that keep communities of interest together.
SECTION 2. That the Census Data Study Committee, if so directed, shall review the redistricting process and make recommendations on ways to improve the process for 2011. As part of this review, the committee shall investigate computer programs that are available to assist in the redistricting process and make recommendations on the use of such programs. In addition, the committee shall make recommendations on methods to include the public in the process, such as, holding public meetings or holding advisory meetings with community leaders.
SECTION 3. That the committee, if so directed, shall operate under the direction of the Legislative Council and shall issue a report when directed to do so by the Council.
SECTION 4. The Secretary of the Senate is hereby directed to transmit a copy of this Resolution to the Legislative Council through the Executive Director of the Legislative Services Agency.

Surely the House can find a way to support a study committee that would look at the process of determining Districts. The House Democrats in particular are being quite obstructionist in this General Assembly. Crafting only one year's budget and rolling back the referendum process come immediately to mind. Nothing will scream 'absolutely, totally, obstructionist' quite like killing Delph's Resolution.

Lets talk.

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