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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Washington state Redistricting Commission

Redistricting plan challenged

OLYMPIA — A Vancouver man is challenging the state redistricting plans approved to a special commission and adopted recently by the Legislature.

John Milem, who attended almost every meeting of the Washington Redistricting Commission and prepared his own maps for new legislative and congressional boundaries, filed a petition with the state Supreme Court this morning that contends the plans split too many counties and cities, that some districts are too spread out, and are weighted to favor the metropolitan Puget Sound region.

The five counties of metropolitan Puget Sound have about 60 percent of the state's population, yet they make up the bulk of 7 of the 10 congressional district, Milem's petition says. The other 34 counties have about 40 percent of the state population yet they are the majority in only three districts.

The petition asks the court to redraw the boundaries.

New district lines approved

OLYMPIA — The Senate gave the final OK today to the new boundaries for Washington's legislative and congressional district lines.

The boundaries, drawn up by the state Redistricting Commission and approved by that panel on Jan. 1, rearrange state legislative districts and add a 10th congressional district to Washington, awarded last year because of population growth.

Under state law, the Legislature  has the authority to tweak the boundaries slightly — no more than 2 percent — but can't make wholesale changes. The House made minor changes by moving Census Blocks around among many of the congressional and legislative districts before passing the boundaries 95-0 last Friday. The Senate approved those changes on a 44-4 vote today.

The maps as approved by the Redistricting Commission can be found here. We'll be posting updated maps as soon as they are available.

West Plains voters moving Lege districts

Many residents of the West Plains likely will vote for different legislators this fall, even if they like the ones they have right now.
Medical Lake and Cheney residents would no longer be sharing their legislators with Ritzville and Pullman, and Airway Heights and Fairchild Air Force Base residents won’t share theirs with Colville and Republic. Instead, all would elect legislators with voters on Spokane’s South Hill and the city’s northwest neighborhoods under the new boundaries established by the Washington Redistricting Commission this week.
The commission moved much of the West Plains into the 6th Legislative District as it rearranged boundaries around the state to make up for the increased population recorded in the 2010 Census.
With a statutory deadline just hours away Sunday evening, the redistricting commission overcame the biggest sticking point in drawing legislative and congressional boundaries for the next 10 years – Eastern Washington legislative boundaries.
The plan on which they settled . . .

To read the rest of this post, go inside the blog.

Finally: A WA congressional map

OLYMPIA — A subcommittee of the Washington Redistricting Commission released its proposed map for the state's new congressional district.

For Eastern Washington's 5th District sees the least change, losing some of its western most precincts, but otherwise looking about like it does now.

The new 10th District is carved primarily out of Thurston and Pierce counties. The 8th District spans the Cascades, giving the East Side of Washington 2 1/2 districts, at least on paper. The population base, however, is eastern King County.

Take a look at the map here.

The commission is cutting it close. It still needs an Eastern Washington legislative map, must take public comment, make any adjustments and get at least three of the four commissioners' “yea” vote by midnight Jan. 1.  Meeting will continue later today.

What about those East Side districts? Maybe Tuesday

OLYMPIA — The Washington Redistricting Commission might get around to releasing its proposed legislative boundaries for Eastern Washington tomorrow.

The panel, which has been hung up on redrawing lines for Puget Sound and Western Washington Districts for weeks, released some boundaries for most of those legislative districts on Friday and planned to work through the weekend on the East Side and the congressional boundaries.

Here's the plan for King County and points north. Here's the plan for Pierce County and points south and west.

They're in a “beat the clock” posture. State law requires them to have boundaries to turn submit to the Legislature by Jan. 1, or cede the authority for redistricting to the state Supreme Court. Back in the halcyon days of the commission's planning, they talked about being done in November and giving the plans to the Legislature during its special session. Now it's a race to finish things by year's end, and maybe get the maps and formal boundary descriptions to the Lege by the first or second week of the regular session, which starts Jan. 9.

Commission members Slade Gorton and Tim Ceis are working on the congressional districts, Tom Huff and Dean Foster on the Eastern Washington legislative districts.

We'll have a report, and maps, tomorrow…if they do.

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.”

Sunday Spin: Adventures in redistricting

OLYMPIA – Tuesday is Election Day 2011 – or what passes for one in a state that mailed out its ballots two weeks ago and will spend more than two weeks counting the returns – but it could be a key day for Election Days 2012-21.
That morning is the next meeting of the state Redistricting Commission, which is weighing two proposals to redraw congressional and legislative lines in Washington…

To read the rest of this post, go inside the blog.

Redistricting hearing set

The state Redistricting Commission has a hearing on Oct. 11 to give the public one more chance to weigh in on the proposed redrawing of lines for political districts. Each of the four commissioners submitted maps earlier this month for the 10 congressional districts and 49 legislative districts, and the commission put those maps on its website.

The hearing is in Olympia, but will be broadcast live on TVW and online. The panel will take comments in person, on the phone and via the Internet.

Redistricting: A numbers game?

Former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton had a logical, sensible suggestion last week when releasing his proposal for Washington’s new congressional districts.
So logical and sensible, in fact, that it has almost no chance of happening….

To read the rest of this item, go inside the blog.

Redistricting Commission meets Tuesday

The Washington State Redistricting Commission, which is redrawing the lines for the state’s congressional and legislative districts, will be at Spokane Falls Community College Tuesday.

The five-member board has a special commissioner meeting at 5 p.m. to discuss its budget and a schedule for releasing and taking public comment on map proposals. A forum for the public to comment on possible changes to the districts starts after the commissioner meeting ends. The meeting and forum are in SFCC Lounges 1 and 2.
The commission also has a public forum Wednesday at the Walla Walla Community College Conference Center and Thursday at the Big Bend Community College Masto Conference Center 1870 in Moses Lake. Both have an open house that starts at 6 p.m. with a forum at 7 p.m.


Lura Powell chosen to head Redistricting Commish

OLYMPIA — Lura Powell of Richland was  named chaiwoman of the state Redistricting Commission this morning.

Powell, former director of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, was the unanimous choice of the four members who were each appointed by a legislative leader of one party from one chamber of the Legislature. She serves as the non-voting leader of the commission, which will redraw the lines for Washington's Congressional and Legislative districts based on the results of the 2010 Census.

Powell described herself as bipartisan — “I've had fundraisers for Democrats and Republicans” — but not a political junkie.

“I've found working with the legislative process to be fascinating,” she said.

She's an analytical chemist, a retired federal worker and currently serves on the board of the Life Sciences Discovery Fund. To complaints that the board appointed by the legislative “four corners” were all male and all from Western Washington, she acknowledge that she's “a two-fer”. She's a woman from Eastern Washington. And she has experiencing running boards and commissions.

“Will everybody always agree on everything? Probably not,” she said. “You wouldn't want to rubber stamp everything.”

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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.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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