Indiana legislative leaders are planning to postpone the official end date of the 2021 session by several months because, they say, of delays around redistricting.
The U.S. Census Bureau has said for weeks that the data lawmakers need to redraw district lines will be heavily delayed.
And there’s a provision in Indiana law that says if legislators don’t redraw congressional districts before they adjourn the session, a special commission draws them instead.
Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) said that’s the only reason they’re considering not adjourning the session in late April.
“I do not love this. I don’t think, we don’t want to get ourselves in a position where we just recess to the fall of the gavel at the end of our session, just in case we want to come back,” Bray said.
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Leadership said pushing back the official end date of session will make returning for redistricting easier from a procedural standpoint, allowing committees to pass the redistricting bills without first bringing back all 150 lawmakers.
Postponing adjournment would also easily allow lawmakers to return if they wanted to cancel any future COVID-19 restrictions the governor might impose.
House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) said that’s not what this is about.
“Extraordinary, extraordinary, extraordinary, extraordinary, extraordinary circumstances for us to come back prior to redistricting,” Huston said.
Huston said lawmakers will have hearings around the state ahead of redistricting to invite public input.