Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Redistricting Session: Stalemate
The last two days we have spent at the Capitol in an effort to agree on new maps that will represent district shapes for the next 10 years. Yesterday we passed the House District map with near unanimous support. The Senate District map was less unanimous but received little push back during debate on the floor.
The Congressional map on the other hand is turning into a contest of will between not only Republicans and Democrats but also between the House and the Senate.
The morning was punctuated by a Redistricting Committee meeting that was held to publicly air two new maps that were drawn. One map, what we will call the Ipson Map, was attractive to those in the House. The McAdams Map, which was also presented, appeared to be favored by Democrats. In a bizarre turn of events, all Senate committee members and Democrats voted for the McAdams Map, while just the Republican House members voted against it. The map failed to pass out of committee. When the Ipson Map came up for a vote, Republican House members voted for it, and Democrats and all Senators voted against it. It failed as well. It was a complete surprise to the Republican House committee members that the Republican Senate members would oppose the Ipson Map.
The meeting was also spiced up with a very vitriolic and confrontational presentation by the Utah Democratic Lawyers Council. You can listen to this outlandish tirade HERE. (The fun starts about halfway through the meeting.) He didn't win any converts but he did succeed in antagonizing everyone.
It appears that the Senate strategy was to support their Senate colleague in a back-handed way by supporting the McAdams map while knowing that the House member of the committee would vote it down. Vise versa for the Ipson Map.
This strategy left the only viable option for debate being the so-called Sumsion Map which is not as palatable to the House but is liked by the Senate.
They rest of the day was spent waiting for stakeholders to figure out which tweaks and adjustments were acceptable to make both the House and Senate happy.
Late in the evening we met to wrangle with how to handle this situation, our caucus dismissed at 10:15pm.
The Verdict: We will draw new maps, hold new public hearings, and vet maps until we find one that the House and Senate can agree on. We will reconvene October 18th.