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Redistricting process begins to take shape

Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston and Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray are tentatively planning on completing new congressional, state House and state Senate districts by Oct. 1, using so-called “legacy” data from the U.S. Census Bureau that will become available in mid-August.

The Republican legislative leaders laid out their ideas to their Democratic counterparts, House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta and Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor, in a meeting held late Wednesday afternoon in the Senate Republican Caucus meeting room in the Indiana Statehouse.

Two people who attended the meeting provided the following information on background because they were not authorized to speak for Huston or Bray.

The U.S. Census Bureau data from the 2020 census, delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, will come in a format similar to that used in the redistricting processes in 2001 and 2011.  The Legislative Services Agency will reformat the legacy data so that map-drawing can begin by Sept. 1.

The House and Senate election committees will hold public hearings in early August—weeks before proposed new maps are released. The dates, number and locations of the hearings have not been determined.

House and Senate members were asked to provide the exact locations of their homes to LSA, consistent with past practice.

The process to draft the legislation determining the district boundaries will originate in the House.  The legislation would move through the House the week of Sept. 20 and through the Senate the following week.

It is unclear how far in advance of Sept. 20 — if at all — the proposed maps will be available for public review and comment.

Like any other legislation, the mapping bill can be signed or vetoed by the Governor, or he can let it become law without his signature.

No final decisions were announced Wednesday.  It may be a week to 10 days before a final schedule is announced.

The Indiana Citizen is following developments closely and will report details as they become available