State senator proposing redistricting plan for Indiana

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(Indiana Statehouse Newsroom) – What if you could have a direct hand in how Indiana’s legislative districts are drawn? One state senator claims he wants to tear the current map up with a redistricting reform bill.

State Senator John Ruckelshaus said his plan tries to make the process as transparent as possible and creates and independent commission that will draw the maps.

Traditionally, Ruckelshaus said the legislature draws up and votes on the district maps after the Federal Census.

“The way this would be different is, the public can apply through their public universities to be a member of this Commission. Then, nine members would be chosen, as well as four members as appointed by the Legislature,” said Ruckelshaus.

In his proposal, he said the bipartisan commission would draw the maps for Indiana’s congressional, state house, and state senate districts.

However, the legislature would still have the final vote on the maps.

“If you’re in the minority, sure the maps are always unfair. If you’re in the majority, the maps are fair. That’s always been the system we’ve lived by. By creating a separate Commission, we’re trying to take as much of the poicitcs out of it,” said Ruckelshaus.

He points to the redistricting issue coming up in town hall meetings, something he claimed happened when he was a state representative in 1991.

“The Democrats controlled the Indiana House and they drew me out. They literally went down my street, drew my house in with another representative and I was out of the Legislature. So, I’ve been a victim,” said Ruckelshaus.

A similar redistricting bill died in the state house last session.

Ruckelshaus said if the bill is approved, it wouldn’t go into effect until 2021 when the maps will be redrawn.

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(This story was originally published on December 21, 2017)

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