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Eye On Boise

Wed., Sept. 28, 2011, 3:55 p.m.

Finman: ‘We’re now passing the baton to get to the finish line’

Four of Idaho's former redistricting commissioners, plus a fifth who sent a letter of support, made a strong pitch to their successors today to adopt the legislative and congressional district plans that they reached over the past weeks, after they'd been officially disbanded, and save taxpayers the cost of starting from scratch. Commissioner Lorna Finman of Rathdrum told the new commission, "We got down to a point where we needed some legal clarity from the courts on the constitutional and statutes in Idaho. We expected clarity from the court to close the negotiation we were working on. But due to a procedural technicality, that we did not have an agreed-upon map, we were unable to finish the job. We needed five more minutes to come in and finish the job."

She said, "When that happened, which was unexpected to all of us, we felt an obligation ... to not have wasted the taxpayers' money. ... A lot of work was done. ... We decided on our own nickel to spend the time and get the job done."

All six former commissioners signed and submitted letters of support for their new legislative district plan, L-83, and for congressional district plan C-38. However, Finman said, "I have to add as full disclosure that since we had agreement on all those letters, Commissioner Frasure has had some reluctancy now to go forward with this signed letter. That's kind of changed over the last few days, so I will make that full disclosure here."

Finman said, "Maybe this is like a relay race. We started, we ran hard and fast, and we're now passing the baton to get to the finish line. ... I'm asking you to consider these two maps and all the work and effort that's gone into them, and to save the taxpayer money. This is a bipartisan map with bipartisan support. We did our best to accommodate all aspects and all criteria that we are faced with. It is a better map than what is out there today."

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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