House passes its legislative redistricting plan

by T.W. Budig
ECM Capitol reporter

The House today (Friday, May 6) passed its legislative redistricting plan on a 69 to 58 vote, with lawmakers in the House alcoves and retiring room studying maps of the 201 redrawn legislative districts.

But the question whether the courts, rather than lawmakers, ultimately will redraw the state’s political map necessitated by the U.S. Census remains open with some lawmakers.

House Tax Committee Chairman Greg Davids, R-Preston, while endorsing the efforts of the redistricting committee, said redistricting would “most likely” be settled in the courts.

Rep. Melissa Hortman, R-Brooklyn Park, an attorney who serves on the House Redistricting Committee, criticized the redistricting plan.

Hortman charged that committee Chairwoman Sarah Anderson, R-Plymouth, had been unwilling to answer some of her questions, perhaps because she was an attorney and Anderson thought she was trying to trick her.

Hortman further suggested Republicans in drawing the map gerrymandered — drew “weird lines” in the Rochester area — to create districts favorable to Republican incumbents.

“To me it looks like a pretty Republican map,” said Hortman.

Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, said Democrats set to out to create “The People’s Map,” and criticized Republicans for too speedily moving the redistricting process along.

But Anderson countered by saying Democrats had offered two suggestions to her, and she used both of them.

“I’m very proud of this plan,” said Anderson.

It upholds the Voting Rights Act, she said.

The redrawn districts are compact, sensible, and “preserve counties, cities and townships, and they maintain communities of interest,” she said.

The Senate has not yet bring forth a redistricting plan.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton has indicated he’ll look for bipartisan support in judging the merits of a redistricting plan.

The House redistricting plan passed today does not include congressional boundaries.

That will be addressed separately.

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