Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Commission approves legislative plan

Work completed in 2 weeks


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

The Idaho Commission for Reapportionment approved a legislative map on Friday, following only two weeks of hearings and workshops. The commission had 90 days to complete its work, but finished ahead of schedule, voting to unanimously approve the map shown above. Courtesy graphic

After just two weeks of meetings, hearings and workshops, the second Idaho Commission for Reapportionment has approved a new legislative district map.

The commission approved the map Friday following a week of working in small, private groups. The new map keeps District 25—now District 26—intact, including the entirety of Blaine, Lincoln, Camas and Gooding counties.

Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, said the mapping of District 26 was exactly what she had hoped for. Jaquet spoke out in an earlier public hearing regarding the necessity of keeping the four counties together, as did fellow legislators Rep. Donna Pence, D-Gooding, and Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum.

"The nice thing about it is that we kept the same district," Jaquet said, which allows the three lawmakers to continue their working relationship. "We worked well together, we worked hard together, and I think it's good for the whole district."

The 2012 session will be Jaquet's last, however, as she announced her intention to retire from the legislature at the end of her term.

L87, as the approved plan is known, was hashed out by the bipartisan commission based on a series of public hearings and records from the first commission.

The first commission failed to approve either set of electoral districts by its Sept. 6 deadline. The second commission had until Dec. 12 to develop two sets of boundaries, but approved its plan unanimously almost two months ahead of schedule.

L87 consists of 35 legislative districts, with a population deviation of 9.92 percent—just under the allowable 10 percent. The smallest district, made of Jerome and Minidoka counties, falls short of the ideal district size by 5.24 percent.

A plan presented by the former redistricting commission three weeks after deadline as a "compromise" plan has a slightly lower deviation, but splits more counties, 14 to plan L87's 12.

Jaquet said she believes the approved map is fair and not skewed toward either party.

"What they tried to do is go for communities of interest," Jaquet said. "I think they behaved in the true spirit of the constitutional amendment."

Despite that perceived fairness, the plan may still be thrown to the Idaho Supreme Court. In 2001, the commission for reapportionment approved a legislative district plan that was later challenged.

Gary Moncrief, political science professor at Boise State University, said Monday that he expects the plan to be challenged—as are more than 80 percent of redistricting plans nationwide. Any Idaho resident who can show damage from the new plan can file a court challenge.

"Every redistricting plan that has been drawn in Idaho, whether in the Legislature or by a commission, has been challenged," he said.

Moncrief said he didn't notice any glaring constitutional issues with the commission's plan. But, he added, "that's for the Supreme Court to decide."

As for why the second commission's ability to succeed where the first had failed, Jaquet pointed to the friendly relationship among the commissioners, who often ate and traveled together.

"When you eat dinner with someone, it's pretty hard to be mean-spirited the next hour," she said.

____________________________________________________

Congressional districts approved

The second Idaho Commission for Reapportionment approved a congressional district map on Monday. The map shifts the former district boundaries to the west and splits Ada County.

Blaine County will remain in Congressional District 2, along with the city of Boise, Pocatello and Idaho Falls. Garden City, Meridian and Caldwell as well as the major northern Idaho cities will remain in District 1.

The map was approved on a 4-2 vote, with Democratic Commissioners Elmer Martinez and Shauneen Grange opposed.




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.