Letters and Opinion and Redistricting

Legislator promotes fair redistricting

October 10, 2009

Sometimes I agree with Morton Marcus’ opinions and sometimes I don’t, but I was incredulous when I read his “Let’s help keep legislators in check” in the [Sept. 28] IBJ.

Marcus makes it sound as if there is little or no support in the Indiana General Assembly for a bipartisan approach to legislative redistricting. Nothing could be further from the truth, and I felt compelled to remind Marcus of recent history on this important topic. Many of us have been advocating bipartisan redistricting reform for years.

Back in the 2006 legislative session, I authored House Bill 2009, which would have created a bipartisan commission to draw new districts in 2011 and beyond. The commission would have been chaired by the chief justice of the Supreme Court, and would have been charged with drawing new districts based upon criteria that would have protected the interests of voters rather than protecting the interests of politicians.

HB 2009 was a part of the House Republican agenda for 2006 (then-Speaker Brian Bosma was a co-author of the bill), and it passed out of the House on a bipartisan vote—every Republican and a number of Democrats voting in favor. Unfortunately, the bill was not considered in the Senate. I have introduced the same bill in every session since, but under Speaker Pat Bauer the bill has always been assigned to the House Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure, where it fails to be considered.

While I agree with Marcus’ basic premise that legislative redistricting should be less partisan, he chose to villainize legislators unfairly. Many of us support a more bipartisan approach to redistricting. I for one will continue to champion this issue through the redistricting process in the 2011 session of the General Assembly.

__________

Jerry Torr

State representative
District 39 (Carmel)



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