Indiana Senate approves sweeping redistricting reforms

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Indiana lawmakers today approved the 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.

proposed new senate districts

Map of possible redefined senate districts

District 22’s representative, State Sen. Ron Alting (R-Lafayette), supported the measure establishing guidelines “because there has been little direction in either Indiana law or the Indiana Constitution regarding redistricting.”

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. Alting said 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 openly discuss what is and is not working among the other 49 states’ redistricting efforts,” Alting said. “I believe that it’s important to take time to allow Hoosiers the opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns on this issue. Then, lawmakers can make decisions that best serve their constituents.”

SB 80 and SB 136 now move to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

For additional information, background and otherwise, see Secretary of State Todd Rotika’s Web site “Rethinking Redistricting” list of online resources.

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