(LAFAYETTE, Ind.) – Legislators are opening hearings on the state’s new congressional districts, even though there are no maps to discuss yet.
Senate Elections Chairman Jon Ford (R-Terre Haute) will lead four southern Indiana town halls the next two days, while House counterpart Tim Wesco (R-Osceola) will do the same in the north. On Wednesday, they’ll preside jointly over a ninth hearing at the statehouse.
Legislators will hold town halls in Anderson, Lafayette, Columbus and Valparaiso. On Saturday, they’ll move on to Fort Wayne, Elkhart, Evansville and Sellersburg.
Wesco says for now, the focus is on general principles: what rules legislators should follow when they draw districts, and where people would like the lines to go.
Legislators will not only be redrawing Indiana’s nine U-S House districts, but the 100 Indiana House districts and 50 Indiana Senate districts. The redistricting is required every 10 years to reflect population shifts in the new census.
Wesco says he wants to draw districts which are as compact as possible, but says that has to be reconciled with requirements that they have equal population.
Redistricting is normally complete by the time legislators adjourn at the end of April, but the Census Bureau was late in delivering the necessary data this year. The bureau says it’ll deliver the population data to draw the maps next Friday.
Wesco says the legislature will likely reconvene next month to unveil proposed maps, hold a fresh round of hearings, and vote on them.