Legislative Redistricting (Audio)
By Jenifer Jones
The House State Affairs Committee killed a bill that changed the legislative redistricting process. House Bill 1220 would require a bipartisan non-legislative committee to handle the task.
Once every ten years a group of lawmakers are in charge of legislative redistricting. Representative Bill Thompson of Sioux Falls is a sponsor of the bill. He says the current process is unfair.
"These incumbents, Republicans and Democrats alike, work hard," Thompson says. "But unfortunately they work hardest to keep their own districts safe or make them even safer, perhaps with one exception. Their self preservation is to the detriment of other districts, even districts held by fellow party members. Worst of all, such redistricting discourages citizens from participating in the democratic process."
Opponents of the measure say the current process is not broken, so there is no need to make the change. They also say the constitution specifically states the legislature should do the redistricting, not a committee.
Member stations can download the audio file here.