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Eye On Boise

New districts now ‘the law of the land’

Idaho's new congressional and legislative districts are now in effect, Secretary of State Ben Ysursa declared this morning after receiving the new plans from the bipartisan citizen redistricting commission. “This is now the law of the land,” Ysursa said. “I for one want to applaud the commission.” He said, “It took two commissions to get it done, and I appreciate that - and I know the people of Idaho do.”

Ysursa said the new district lines will immediately go out to the public and county clerks, so people will know which districts they're in, where they vote and who their elected representatives might be. Idaho's primary election, the first to take place with the new districts, is in May. “We ned to get finality,” Ysursa said. “I can't thank you enough for your public service, all of your. It's good to see how things can work.” He also thanked the previous commission, saying, “They certainly laid a foundation.” Said Ysursa, “Now it's up to the people to participate. … Participation is the essence of democracy.”

Commissioner Sheila Olsen of Idaho Falls said, “To me, it's a triumph of civility, notwithstanding real differences that we all bring. I think it sets a high mark.” Said Commissioner Elmer Martinez, “My other hope was that we could reaffirm to the citizens that the processes of government can work. I think we honestly made that effort in this commission.”

Ysursa said, “I hope this is the last time you're all together as a commission - there's only one way you can come back.” That's if the Idaho Supreme Court orders the commission back to work to make revisions in response to a lawsuit. That could well happen, he noted, but said, “Hopefully it will not happen this time. … You did get it done, and I think it's defensible.”

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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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