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House panel backs GOP redistricting plan

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Republican-drawn maps for new Indiana House and congressional districts advanced to the full House on Friday despite arguments from Democrats that they are aimed at ensuring GOP election dominance.

The House elections committee voted 8-5 along party lines in favor of the proposals after Republicans revised the lines for several scattered state House districts from what they had proposed Monday.

Democrats said the proposed districts will reduce the number of closely contested House districts and that some appear drawn specifically to help Republican candidates who lost elections last year.

Republicans maintain that the districts were drawn without regard to political considerations but with the goal of compactness and keeping cities and counties together.

Committee Chairman Eric Koch, R-Bedford, said the Republican proposal was made up of commonsense districts that better represented the state than those approved in 2001 when Democrats controlled the House.

"They make far more sense in terms of good government and effective organization than the maps adopted 10 years ago," Koch said.

Democrats maintain that the Republican proposal leaves 14 districts closely divided politically for the 100 House seats — down from the current 24 — and that 10 districts drawn without incumbents are heavily Republican.

"I haven't heard anyone say we're wrong," said Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis.

The drawing of new congressional and legislative districts, which would take effect with the 2012 elections, is done every 10 years based on new census information.

DeLaney mocked Republican leaders for saying that they didn't know how slanted the new districts would be in their favor.

"Are you going to say the prospect of 62 predominantly Republican districts just fell out of the sky?" DeLaney said. "I don't think any citizen believes that."

Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma said any political benefit his party gains from redistricting comes from population growth in predominantly Republican areas and population losses in Democratic-leaning cities.

"You don't have to be a demographer or political science major to know that you're going to see that kind of result with change in the map," Bosma said.

Democrats asked that the legislative redistricting plan be presented at public hearings around the state and then voted on in November, when the legislators convene their annual organization day. But Republicans expect the House to vote next week on the redistricting plans and for them to receive final approval before the Legislature's April 29 deadline to adjourn.

The House committee also advanced the GOP proposal for the state's nine congressional districts. Republicans now hold six of those seats and the redistricting plan puts more Republican areas into the northern Indiana district of Democrat Joe Donnelly, who narrowly won re-election last year.

Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne, said he believed having more competitive districts would be better for the state because it would lead to fewer entrenched incumbents

"You're going to have fewer people willing to run when they have about no chance to win," he said.

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  • seriously
    the way they were. any questions
  • Because....
    Ladyjan,

    The Constitution and the Supreme Court requires them to redo the districts following the census. They couldn't leave things as they were.
  • Because....
    Ladyjan,

    The Constitution and the Supreme Court requires them to redo the districts following the census. They couldn't leave things as they were.
  • why change
    What was wrong with the district the way they was. The Republicans won the house and senate anyway. Why stack the deck. Oh I know they want to sew up the state for there own well beings. Stacking the deck is not right. I hope it fall though and make the Republican look stupid.

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    1. Now if he'd just stay there...

    2. Daniel - what about the many US citizens who do NOT follow what the Bible teaches? The Hindus, Jews, Muslims and others who are all American citizens entitled to all rights as Americans?? This issue has NOTHING to do with "What the Bible says..." Keep all Churches separate from State! Pence's ongoing idiocy continues to make Indiana look like a backwards, homophobic state in the eyes of our nation. Can't we move on to bigger issues - like educating our kids?

    3. 1. IBJ should link to the referenced report. We are in the age of electronic media...not sharing information is lazy. Here is a link http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Blue_Ribbon_Panel_Report_July_9_2014.pdf 2. The article should provide more clarity about the make-up of this panel. The commenters are making this item out to be partisan, it does not appear the panel is partisan. Here is a list of the panel which appears to be balanced with different SME to add different perspectives http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=138116?formation_id=189603 3. It suggests a by-pass, I do not see where this report suggests another "loop". 4. Henry, based on your kneejerk reaction, we would be better off if you moved to another state unless your post was meant as sarcasm in which case I say Well Done. 5. The article and report actually indicates need to improve rail and port infrastructure in direct contradiction to Shayla commentary. Specifically, recommendation is to consider passenger rail projects... 6. People have a voice with their elected officials. These are suggestions and do not represent "crony capitalism", etc. The report needs to be analyzed and the legislature can decide on priorities and spending. Don't like it, then vote in a new legislature but quit artificially creating issues where there are none! People need to sift through the politics and provide constructive criticism to the process rather than making uninformed comments in a public forum based on misinformation. IBJ should work harder to correct the record in these forums when blatant errors or misrepresentations are made.

    4. Joe ... Marriage is defined in the Bible ... it is mentioned in the Bible often. Marriage is not mentioned once in the US or Indiana Constitution ...

    5. Daniel - Educate me please: what does the Bible have to do with laws? If the government wasn't in the business of marriage to begin with, then it wouldn't have to "define" marriage at all. Marriage could be left as a personal, religious, or otherwise unregulated action, with no ties to taxes, legal status, etc. Then people could marry whomever they want, and all this silliness would go away. Remember to vote Libertarian in November.

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