The following is a legislative update from State Senator Amanda Ragan, representing portions of Franklin, Butler and Cerro Gordo counties:
The Iowa Legislature’s role in redistricting is under way.
The nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency has released its initial plan for Congressional, state House and state Senate districts. All Iowans can now review it and offer feedback. The Legislature will meet October 5 to vote on the plan.
Iowa’s long-standing redistricting process does not allow politicians in power to pick their own districts. We must keep the process free of political interference—including partisan amendments—to ensure all Iowans have a voice in their representation.
The Legislature should approve a plan that meets Iowa’s legal and constitutional requirements, including:
* Districts must be established based on population, and the population of all districts should be as equal as practicable.
* Each Congressional district must be composed of whole counties, and the number of counties and cities divided into more than one legislative district must be as small as possible.
* Districts must be composed of convenient contiguous territory.
* Districts must be reasonably compact in form (i.e., square, rectangular or hexagonal; not irregularly shaped, to the extent permitted by natural or political boundaries).
Since 1980, Iowa’s district lines have been drawn by nonpartisan legislative staff, who follow a strict set of criteria. Iowa’s redistricting model is recognized nationwide as the “gold standard” because it doesn’t allow political influence.
You have an important role to play in the process
A special bipartisan advisory commission will hold three online meetings to gather public input on the new maps. The meetings are scheduled for:
* Monday, September 20: 7 PM to 9:30 PM
* Tuesday, September 21: Noon to 3 PM
* Wednesday, September 22: 6 PM to 8:30 PM
This is your chance to review the maps and have your voice heard. You can review the new redistricting maps and get further information at www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/redistricting
For complete details on how to tune in to the public input meetings and submit comments on the redistricting plan, go to www.legis.iowa.gov/committees/publicHearings