Committee Passes Partial Redistricting Reform; Advocates Want More

Jan 22, 2018

Legislation that would define how to evaluate the quality of legislative redistricting maps is headed to the Senate floor after unanimous committee approval Monday.

The bill’s Republican author calls it the “best chance” to move the redistricting reform debate forward, even as advocates say it should go further.

Sen. Greg Walker’s (R-Columbus) bill doesn’t address who will draw Indiana’s legislative district lines. Instead, it deals with how to determine the quality of the maps. For instance, the measure says map makers should avoid dividing neighborhoods within a city and ignore where incumbent lawmakers live.

Redistricting reform advocates support Walker’s bill but many, like high schooler Christian Omoruyi, say it should go further.

“Unequivocally affirming that districts should not be drawn to disfavor any individual or political party and that a socially and politically diverse group of citizens should oversee redistricting,” Omoruyi says.

Walker says his bill will advance debate on the issue, even as he suggests an independent redistricting commission isn’t widely supported in his caucus.