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Eye On Boise

Redistricters chew over legal questions

The redistricting commission has been visiting this morning with Assistant Chief Deputy Attorney General Brian Kane about legal questions, on everything from its deadline to what makes a redistricting plan defensible in court. It's also reviewed several new legislative and congressional plans submitted by the public, along with a new submission from Democratic commissioners, L-48, that makes a change to districts in Ada County as requested by GOP Commissioner Lou Esposito. “Commissioner Esposito pointed out an oversight, as you commissioners will recall,” said Democratic Commissioner George Moses. “In our initial proposal, the city of Eagle was entirely contained in one district. In some of the redraws that somehow managed to get fractured and got by us.”

The revision puts all of the city of Eagle into one legislative district, what is now District 14; rather than pairing part with downtown Boise. Commissioner Evan Frasure had several questions, but said, “I appreciate the effort.”

The discussion of legal points has gone on now for more than half an hour. “The most defensible plan is something that comes from the commission 6-0, it meets all the constitutional requirements, and it meets all the statutory requirements,” Kane told the commission. From that point, there's a hierarchy, with a 5-1 vote and compliance with all constitutional and statutory requirements the next-best. “Do your best,” Kane advised the commissioners. “Make every effort to comply with the statutes and with the Constitution, and if you get stuck, show your work. … If we do that, we've got something that's defensible. I'm not saying it's going to be perfect. But I think that's the best advice that as your attorney I can deliver at this point.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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