(INDIANAPOLIS) – Supporters of redistricting reform want the House to set rules for how those maps are drawn in two years. An attempt to set rules for redrawing Indiana’s legislative districts has a month to get a hearing in the House:
Columbus Republican Greg Walker’s bill passed the Senate two weeks ago with just one vote to spare. The bill would require new districts to follow city and county boundaries as much as possible without cracking or packing blocs of minority votes. It would also prohibit legislators from checking where the incumbent lives before drawing the lines.
Julia Vaughn with Common Cause Indiana argues what’s really needed is an independent commission to draw the lines. But she says Walker’s bill would be a step forward. And she says voters who have issues they’re passionate about are recognizing those issues can’t make progress without redistricting changes to make legislators more responsive to their voters.
Carmel Senator J.D, Ford (D) warns if Indiana doesn’t put rules in place, the federal court could d force it to, as it has in other states.Indianapolis Senator John Ruckelshaus (R) says his father, John II, was trying to get redistricting reform passed in the Senate 60 years ago. He says the issue is personal to him for another reason: his first term of legislative service ended when Democratic-drawn maps cut him out of his district in 1991, at one point zigzagging abruptly to put his house on the wrong side of a line following the rest of his street.
The bill passed the Senate last year too but didn’t get a hearing in the House. The next redistricting is two years away.
Julia Vaughn (Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)