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Eye On Boise

Dems offer four new legislative district plans

Democratic redistricting commissioners are presenting four new options on legislative district plans this morning. One of them, L-62, isn't their first choice, Commissioner George Moses said, as it would split 10 counties. But it's offered as a “North Idaho fix.” This plan would divide Bonner County vertically, combining western Bonner with Boundary County and part of northwestern Kootenai County in District 1, and eastern Bonner with part of northern Kootenai County in District 2. District 3 would remain within Kootenai County, while District 4 would take in all of Shoshone County along with a big chunk of eastern Kootenai County, and Benewah County would join part of Latah County and part of Kootenai in a new District 5, while the rest of Latah would pair with Clearwater County in a new District 6.

“This reduces the size of a number of districts,” Moses explained. The Democrats' original sprawling District 2 proposal is divided up into five separate districts. “This removes all the road violations in North Idaho,” Moses said.

However, the population deviation of the map was pegged at 10.09 percent - just above the 10 percent level that's presumed constitutional. “We might have to fiddle that a little, then,” Moses said. “I was informed by the staff that it was under 10.” GOP Commissioner Evan Frasure said, “The chair would have no objection if you wanted to kind of pull that one back and get your deviation under 10.” Moses responded, “Yes, sir, we'll get to work on that right away.”

The three other new Democratic plans presented this morning include L-60, which splits just seven counties and keeps North Idaho as it was in earlier Democratic maps; L-61, which splits eight counties including Power County; and L-63, which avoids all violations of the highway rule (that requires districts to be connected by highways), while splitting 11 counties and reaching 9.98 percent population deviation. The commission has now taken a break to sort through the details of the four new Democratic plans.

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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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