A bill that would establish redistricting standards for voting districts passed 42-6 Monday through the state Senate.
Senate Bill 326 would change the criteria lawmakers must think about when redistricting the state. The next time Indiana will be redistricted is in 2020, but grassroots organizations are hoping to have the process reformed before then.
Currently, the only two criteria Indiana must follow when redistricting are keeping the districts relatively equal in population while being continuous, meaning they do not end and start in another part of the state.
However, Julia Vaughn, policy director for Common Cause Indiana, said she wants to also see compact districts that offer political competition.
“Not all districts can be all the same things at all the same times,” Vaughn said.
Vaughn said redistricting reform must address both a “how” and a “who” piece. SB 326 would change the “how” piece of redistricting reform by focusing on how lawmakers redistrict.
The “who” piece focuses on who exactly does the redistricting.
Currently, Indiana lawmakers draw the maps every ten years. Vaughn and others fighting for reform want either an independent commission or a citizen commission to redraw the lines.
The bill now heads to the House where it will go through a committee before being voted on by the full chamber.
The Senate also passed a resolution Monday that would assign a committee to study the topic of redistricting.
Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, spoke against the bill, saying the topic of redistricting had already been studied. He said the results came back indicating there should be a citizens commission on redistricting.
“We’ve already studied something, and there’s really no need to do it again,” Lanane said Monday.
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