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Eye On Boise

Semanko on redistricting twist: GOP will still name new commissioners, ‘need to figure out what’s next’

Idaho Republican Party Chairman Norm Semanko said of the unexpected news that the previous redistricting commission has now reached agreement on congressional and legislative districts, "The Supreme Court, in their ruling, I think everybody noticed they said they can't order the commission to reconvene. The commissioners didn't take that to mean they can't continue to talk of their own accord, and that's exactly what they did. I encouraged our commissioners to do that. I met with (Democratic) Chairman (Larry) Grant last Friday morning, and asked him if he was receiving the same signals from his guys and he was, and I encouraged him to encourage his guys to keep talking, so that's what we all did."

"So they reached agreement today, the six of them." Semanko, an attorney, when asked what the legal effect of this is - when a new commission is scheduled to start meeting on Wednesday - said, "What legal effect that has is precisely the reason we're meeting with (Secretary of State) Ben (Ysursa) at 9 on Monday ... to see what the next appropriate steps are." He said, "I guess the good news is those six commissioners ... have reached agreement on both a legislative and a congressional plan, and that's obviously a welcome development."

Semanko said the Republican Party still plans to comply with the order to name three new commissioners by next Wednesday; the Democratic Party already has named its three. "We fully intend to meet that deadline," he said. "That's not at issue. What's at issue is the fact that these six have met, they've come to agreement, and Larry and I are in the position now of presenting that to the Secretary of State on Monday. ... We're going to need to figure out what's next."

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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