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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2010
Indiana Senate passes redistricting reform legislation; bills move to Indiana House
(Indianapolis) – Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita praised the Indiana Senate for passing redistricting reform legislation that would establish guidelines for the legislative redistricting process following the census in 2011. The Senate also passed legislation that would establish a redistricting study committee to examine best practices from other states, including the practice of an independent commission to draw the maps.
“I am deeply impressed by the bipartisan leadership on this issue in our state Senate,” said Secretary Rokita. “I understand that Senate Democrats were disappointed that an independent commission could not be established for the 2011 redistricting cycle. However, we should all take heart in the guidelines they have established in Senate Bill 80. These guidelines will begin to shift the importance from who draws the maps to how they are drawn.”
Secretary Rokita’s office began a statewide discussion on redistricting reform in September 2009. Since then, his office has mobilized a grassroots effort to bring this issue to the Indiana General Assembly. To date, Hoosiers have written nearly 900 letters to legislators through www.rethinkingredistricting.com, calling for redistricting reform in Indiana.
“As this legislation moves to the Indiana House, I would encourage all Hoosiers to write to their representatives to let them know that this issue is important, and this legislation must be heard,” said Secretary Rokita. “I am confident that the House can match the strong bipartisan leadership example set by the Senate.”
The legislation passed in the Senate would require the new legislative maps to respect county and township lines, preserve traditional neighborhoods and communities of interest, protect minority voting rights and create simple, compact districts. The legislation does not include Secretary Rokita’s recommendations for prohibiting the use of partisan data, including incumbent addresses, or implementing nesting, the idea that each Senate district would encompass two House districts.
“We will turn the attention of our grassroots reformers to the House, and focus our efforts on convincing the House leadership to take up this legislation,” said Secretary Rokita. “We will also ask the House to consider additional criteria recommended by my office, including prohibiting the use of incumbent addresses or vote history, and implementing nesting. We need to seize this opportunity to cement the most meaningful and lasting redistricting reform possible.”
Media Contact: Jim Gavin, 317.233.8655, firstname.lastname@example.org