FILE PHOTO – Utah Capitol by Chris An on Unsplash
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An independent commission tasked with redrawing voting districts has presented its proposed maps to Utah lawmakers, a key step in the once-a-decade process that has big political implications.
The Monday hearing comes before a special legislative session planned to vote on new maps planned for Nov. 9.
The Independent Redistricting Commission was approved by voters to draw nonpartisan boundaries, but the Republican-dominated Legislature is under no obligation to adopt them.
The panel drew up proposed districts for Congress, the state House, Senate and state school board. They made three different proposals for each type of office.
The majority of people who attended Monday’s hearing urged lawmakers to adopt one independent commission’s maps, supporting the work as careful, transparent and based on data.
But the meeting comes after former Congressman Rob Bishop, a Republican, abruptly quit the commission, saying their maps were more titled toward urban interests than rural. Republican Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson echoed his concerns and suggested the commission’s work might need to be revaluated, raising questions about whether the Legislature will choose one of their maps.