From Public News Service: Groups say federal legislation is needed to open up Indiana’s redistricting process

The following column was first published by the Public News Service, and is republished according to the PNS republishing guidelines. INDIANAPOLIS -- Gov. Eric Holcomb signed new voting district maps for the General Assembly into law this week, but good-government groups say not only do the maps appear to be gerrymandered, but the process lacked transparency and public input. Block-by-block census data needed to draw maps for the next decade of elections is supposed to come out in April, but it was delayed until August because of the pandemic. Julia Vaughn, policy director for Common Cause Indiana, said the Legislature drew and…

John Krull commentary: The mess made by gerrymandering

Not long after Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed Indiana’s new and heavily gerrymandered redistricting bill into law, he received a reminder of why such measures aren’t such a good idea. A Marion County judge upheld a law passed by the Indiana General Assembly that challenges the governor’s authority to use emergency powers. The legislature adopted the measure, which allows lawmakers to call themselves into session, over Holcomb’s veto. Holcomb argued that the state constitution says the governor is supposed to call the legislature into session—which it does. The judge, though, said that constitutional provision is the exception rather than the…

A WHIMPER, NOT A BANG: Redistricting session comes to a subdued end with passage of Republican-drawn maps; Holcomb signs bill into law

The Indiana Statehouse, Friday, October 1, 2021. UPDATE: Gov. Eric Holcomb (above) on Monday signed into law House Bill 1581, the Republican-drawn redistricting of the state's congressional and legislative district lines for the next decade. "Today I signed HB 1581, completing this once-in-a-decade constitutionally required process," Holcomb said in a statement released by his office. "I want to thank both the House and Senate for faithfully following through in an orderly and transparent way. "A special thanks to every Hoosier who participated in the process by sharing their local perspective and input." With the signing of the legislation, county governments,…

With further amendments voted down, GOP-drawn maps advance to a final vote on Friday

After nearly two weeks of fine-tuning on their redistricting maps -- generally small changes attributed to input from the public and even their Democratic counterparts -- Indiana Senate Republicans put an end to the tinkering on Thursday and set the stage for a final vote on Friday. In repeated votes along party lines reinforced by its 39-11 advantage, the Republican supermajority rejected nine attempts from Democrats to further amend House Bill 1581, which would redraw the state's congressional and legislative districts based upon 2020 census legislation released in August. The second-reading advancement of the legislation -- seen as likely to…

REDISTRICTING UPDATE: We’re losing the fight for fair maps

The following is written by Alan Mills, a member of the Indiana Citizen Education Foundation board of directors, as an update to his analysis, “Why racial justice requires fair maps,’’ published on August 31, 2021. Sept. 29, 2021 A month has passed since I shared some thoughts on the once-a-decade redistricting process and its implications for communities of color in Indiana. Much has happened in the Indiana General Assembly since then, and I’m sorry to report that not much of it is encouraging. On Sept. 14, Indiana House Republicans released their redrawing of the state’s nine congressional and 100 Indiana…

Senate Republicans redraw 8 Marion County districts; amended map will need House concurrence

Pictured: Proposed Indiana Senate districts as redrawn Tuesday.  In a rare moment of bipartisan unanimity -- and one that will at least slightly delay this year's redistricting process -- Indiana Senate Republicans on Tuesday further changed their redrawing of eight Marion County districts, an adjustment that they said was spurred from suggestions in public testimony and from Senate Democrats. The amendment to the Republican-authored redistricting legislation, House Bill 1581, was approved by consent -- meaning there were no objections by any of the seven Republican or two Democratic members -- by the Senate Elections Committee, which later approved the amended…