Redistricting Reform in Indiana
SB105, Senator Greg Walker
SB105, Senator Greg Walker’s bill to create a set of redistricting standards, barely passed the Indiana Senate by a vote of 26-23. That’s a big change from last year, when the identical bill passed 42-6. Since just about all of the discussion about this bill took place behind closed doors in the Senate Republican caucus it’s hard to say why the bill garnered so much opposition this year.
Opposition to SB105
One argument members of the lobbying team kept hearing from legislators opposed to SB105 was that having standards in statute would encourage lawsuits over maps drawn in 2021. That is not the case. It is extremely unlikely that anyone would file a challenge to Indiana legislative or Congressional maps in state court over state standards when a much stronger argument could be made in federal court over constitutional issues. Further, redistricting reform advocates understand that the Indiana Supreme Court takes the Indiana Constitution’s separation of powers clause seriously and is extremely unlikely to entertain any challenge to legislative drawn maps.
Perhaps a more important reason for the large increase in no votes is that SB105 contains language prohibiting maps from being drawn to accommodate incumbents and a new round of redistricting is just around the corner. Something motivated our opponents inside the Senate majority caucus to step up their efforts to kill the bill. Whatever the reason, the close Senate vote could be used as a reason to deny SB105 a hearing in the House. So, we’ve got work to do on redistricting reform in Indiana.
CALL TO ACTION:
SB105 finally had its first reading in the Indiana House and was referred to the Committee on Elections and Apportionment. The Chair, Timothy Wesco, has not promised to hear the bill in committee.
–> Please contact Rep. Wesco to say you want the bill to have a fair hearing.
Rep. Timothy Wesco, Chair firstname.lastname@example.org
–> Let Speaker Brian Bosma know that we expect redistricting reform legislation this 2019 General Assembly session. He knows there is citizen support for it. Ask him to insist that Rep. Tim Wesco give it a fair hearing.
Speaker of the House Brian Bosma email@example.com
–> It is critically important that all members of the House hear from their constituents about SB105 as well. (See below) Contact your representative today!