Senators shot down two amendments to a bill that would have clarified who has oversight in the state’s redistricting processes.
Senate Bill 326, authored by Sen. Greg Walker, R-Columbus, updates procedures and standards for drawing Indiana’s congressional and state legislative districts.
Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, said SB 326 only answers half of Indiana’s redistricting issues.
“It provides for some ideals, some idealistic standards for us to go by,” Lanane said. “But look at the standards themselves. As well-intentioned as they are, they’re rather amorphous. They could be bent if one was inclined and had the motivation.”
Lanane proposed an amendment to appoint an independent commission to oversee redistricting efforts.
For Sen. Jean Breaux, D-Indianapolis, Walker’s standards are an improvement to Indiana’s redistricting rules.
But, like Lanane, Breaux wanted clarity on who could be involved in designating and approving district maps. In an amendment, she suggested legislators include other groups, like community organizations, to review district boundary changes.
“It’s just another set of eyes that will ensure that we really do comply and that we really do follow the guidelines of Senate Bill 326, which are good guidelines,” she said.
Walker referred to a study set to be conducted this summer on several redistricting matters, including those raised by Lanane and Breaux.
Lanane’s amendment was voted down 40-9, while Breaux’s failed 39-10.
Erica Irish is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.