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Amended legislation clears the way for reconvened session on redistricting later this year

Amended legislation adopted by the Indiana House and Senate on April 15 clears the way for a reconvened session later this year in which lawmakers will redraw congressional and legislative districts.

The conference committee report on House Bill 1372, which originally dealt with the unrelated topic of reimbursing county sheriffs for emergency transportation of inmates, added provisions to allow the General Assembly to control the redistricting process which was thrown off course by a delay in 2020 census data resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The data ordinarily would have been available in time for the legislature to complete the process by the time of its usual adjournment at the end of April.

Under the amended legislation, adjournment of the current session will be delayed until no later than Nov. 15, allowing the legislature to recess or temporarily adjourn in April and reconvene after the release of the data, expected by the end of September. If the current session had been adjourned in April, it would have been up to the governor to call a special session for redistricting.

The amendments in the committee report also — for this year only — postpone to Nov. 15 the date by which the legislature must complete the redistricting process before turning the task over to a commission of five legislators, one of whom would be appointed by the governor.

Also changed is the time frame during which legislators cannot engage in fundraising — ordinarily, the entirety of a legislative session due to ethical concerns. The amendments allow fundraising to resume at the end of April. — The Indiana Citizen