The citizen redistricting commission, after hearing from former Senate President Pro-Tem Bob Geddes, took up GOP Commissioner Lou Esposito's motion to waive a state law against precinct splits for one precinct split in the Idaho Falls area that's part of one of his proposed legislative district plans, L-37. “This particular cleanup is going down a five-lane highway,” said GOP Co-Chairman Evan Frasure. “This eliminates the old ditchbank that it used to follow.” But Democratic commissioners said they weren't ready to vote on that at this point, before reaching agreement on which district plan should be adopted. “We don't even know if this plan is going to be one we are going to deal with in the end,” said Democratic Commissioner Julie Kane. “I think it's pretty clear we don't have a problem with waiving any of these five-person rules.” Said Democratic Commissioner George Moses, “Without reference to the merits of the proposal but only because of procedural deficiencies, I vote no.” The motion failed on a 3-3 party-line vote. The commission then adjourned for the day; it'll be back at 10 a.m. tomorrow.
GOP Commissioner Lou Esposito said, “Hopefully things will start moving tomorrow. I think the legislative intent is clear. I think we would ignore the statutes at our peril.” Democrats maintain that the constitutional provision against unnecessarily dividing counties overrides the statutory requirements.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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