The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Local Politics

February 26, 2014

Redistricting bill unlikely to get hearing

INDIANAPOLIS — A bill to establish a redistricting commission to assist lawmakers when they redraw districts is on its last legs as the second reading deadline approaches in the Statehouse.

House Bill 1032 authored by state Rep. Jerry Torr, R-Carmel, and sponsored by Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, would have created a commission to hold public hearings and create district maps to assist lawmakers when the legislative body draws up district boundaries every 10 years.

Torr said he has introduced a bill similar to this a couple of times and has never received a hearing in a Senate committee. He said he introduced it to create better, more balanced districts.

The most recent districts were drawn up in 2011. The party in control of the Indiana Legislature gets final say in how the districts are drawn, which can lead to a process known as gerrymandering, which is when parties draw districts specifically to help them win more elections.

Lanane joined the bill because he thinks it is important to have the public involved in redrawing districts.

"I think the public has little faith in how we redistrict," Lanane said. "I think this is very important."

Lanane said the issue of establishing a commission has been discussed before, but was put on hold because the Senate Republicans were concerned it would take too long to set up. Lanane said he believes it is crucial to set something up now to ensure the system is working properly before putting it to use in 2020.

However, the bill once again failed to get a committee hearing in time due to the short nature of the 2014 session. Lanane said the HB 1032 was referred to the Elections Committee but failed to receive a hearing. Friday is the last day bills can be heard by committees in order to make the second reading deadline of March 3.

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