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Posts tagged: legislative boundaries

Redistricting panel: No decision on E. WA legislative or congressional boundaries

OLYMPIA — The Washington Redistricting Commission does not have maps for Eastern Washington legislative districts, or for the state's new congressional boundaries.

Commissioners met this afternoon, and the separate teams trying to come up with maps for those two tasks said they weren't done. And they had varying descriptions of how close they are.

“We're down to some final details we have to work on,” Commissioner Tim Ceis said about the congressional map.

“It's all in the eye of the beholder how close we really are,” Commissioner Tom Huff said of the Eastern Washington legislative map. “There's a possibility we will have a map tomorrow.”

“I wouldnl't hold out too much hope for tomorrow,” Commissioner Dean Foster said of the Eastern Washington map. “It takes a while to turn around a map.”

The commission split 2-2 on whether they should keep their 10:30 a.m. meeting Friday, but because it would take a majority vote to take it off the schedule, the meeting will happen whether they've got maps or not. Expect a very short session if there are no maps to put in the County Auditor's Christmas stockings for review this week.

Commission Chairwoman Lura Powell, who doesn't have a vote, told the four voting members to try to come in Friday with something, even it if they are just partial maps.

Redistricting Commish: Not quite at impasse

OLYMPIA — The panel trying to redraw boundaries for the state's congressional and legislative boundaries made some progress over the last week — they've gone from “impasse” to “bottle necks.”

But members couldn't promise when they'd  have a final plan, and acknowledge they are running short on time.

Impasse was the word used last week to describe efforts to draw legislative boundaries from Pierce County north around the Puget Sound. This week, Commissioner Tim Ceis said he and Commissioner Slade Gorton had narrowed their differences “to just a couple of issues.”

The other two commissioners are working on legislative boundaries to the south, and have made “nominal gains and some tentatitive agreements,” Commissioner Tom Huff said.

“We're trying as best as we can,” Commissioner Dean Foster said. “Sometimes we run into bottle necks.”

When Chairwoman Lura Powell asked if they would have maps to show the public at the commission's Dec. 13 meeting, Foster replied: “I'm not making any promises.”

The panel's four voting members have split into subcommittees in an effort to work out significant differences between a Democratic plan and a Republican plan to redraw the state's 49 legislative boundaries. They must redraw the legislative districts, and come up with a congressional map that adds the state's new congressional district, by Dec. 31. If they don't come up with plans that at least three of the four can agree to, the task goes to the state Supreme Court.

David Anderson, an Olympia resident who has been following the redistricting process all year, suggested the committee was hung up because members are meeting in secret while trying to protect incumbents and create politically safe districts for one party or the other.

“We have no idea what's causing these bottlenecks,” said Anderson, the only person to testify at Tuesday's hearing. “It's the people's business. When you isolate yourselves from the rest of the public and public input, it creates a lot of cynicism.”

Redistricting panel reworking legislative lines

OLYMPIA—In an effort to resolve conflicts over the redrawing Washington's political boundaries, the State Redistricting Commission is scheduling weekly meetings and splitting up into “bipartisan” subcommittees.

At their monthly meeting Tuesday, commissioners acknowledged they are far apart on plans for legislative and congressional boundaries. Legislative maps proposed last month by the commission's two Republican members have major differences from the maps proposed by the two Democratic members.

And they're running out of time. State law requires at least three members of the commission agree to plans to be submitted to the Legislature by January.

All four agreed to a plan by Commissioner Tom Huff to split into bipartisan  teams of one Republican and one Democratic appointee and try to come up with acceptable legislative boundaries for different regions of the state. Slade Gorton, the Senate Republicans' appointee, will work with Tim Ceis, the Senate Democrats' pick; Huff, the House Republicans' appointee will work with Dean Foster, the House Democrats' pick.

They'll start with the West Side, one group starting from the north and the other from the southwest and try rework boundaries for those legislative districts. Then they'll move on to other regions in Central and Eastern Washington. The legislative maps proposed last month have significant differences for Spokane and some southeast counties. (Click here to read a previous post on how the different plans affect Spokane and surrounding areas.)

“I don't think I'd liked to be here at Christmas time,” Huff said.

But that will likely require meetings at least once a week, and more often if they reach some decisions on different regions. Under state law, the commission can meet with as little as 24 hours notice.

By meeting into December, however, the commission could run into logistical problems. On Nov. 28, the Legislature is scheduled to begin a special session to discuss budget problems. There may be competition for the hearing room the commission uses in the Senate office building that allows its meetings to be broadcast on TVW.

Foster said he wasn't too worried about scheduling problems: “The Legislature may be pretty accommodating to us.”

Maps coming today

OLYMPIA — The state Redistricting Commission will release its maps of proposals  to redraw Washington's congressional and legislative boundaries at their meeting today, which starts at 10 a.m.

Could be as many as eight very different maps — one congressional and one legislative — for each of the four voting commissioners.

Up for grabs: Where will the state's new 10th congressional district be drawn. Bet the rent that it's not in Eastern Washington, where the 5th has a few too many folks and the 4th has quite a few too many folks, based on the 2010 Census. The real growth is in Pugetopolis, so the smart money says somewhere in the burbs between Snohomish and Thurston counties.

Spokane's going to want to watch how the 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th and 9th Legislative Districts are redrawn, because some have too many folks, and others don't have enough. Don't expect a district to up and move completely west, but there could be some significant rejiggering of boundaries.

Stay tuned.

Redistricting: Lege districts may be the hard ones

Spokane-area legislative boundaries could change significantly by next year to make up for population shifts from the city’s urban core to the suburbs.

While much of the attention so far on the 2010 U.S. Census figures has centered on Washington gaining its tenth congressional district, the state’s Redistricting Commission may have even more work to do on redrawing legislative districts. The state isn’t adding to the 49 legislative districts it has had since 1933.

“Ten is easier than 49. There’s more areas to quibble over,” Dean Foster, a member of this year’s commission and the 2000 panel that redrew lines after the previous census…
  

Click here to read the rest of this post or to comment.

Click here to see a detailed map of Spokane County.

Click here to see a detailed map of the Spokane metro area.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

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