After a plea for more review time from the minority leader of the House Redistricting Committee, the House passed HF1426 71-61. The bill now moves to the Senate where Sen. Geoff Michel (R-Edina) is the sponsor.
The bill lays out the state’s eight congressional districts, each with an ideal population of 662,991. Committee Chairwoman Sarah Anderson (R-Plymouth), the bill’s sponsor, said the map “is a nonpartisan plan. … that represents the values of Minnesota and the population shifts that have happened over the last 10 years.”
She said the greatest change would fall in the 7th and 8th districts, which would align east to west instead of the current north-south. Anderson defended the change by saying the mining interests in the 8th District have similar concerns to the agricultural region in the 7th District, and that the two districts traverse the Canadian border.
In public hearings, she said testifiers talked about not splitting counties or cities, if possible. She said this map, which divides seven counties and seven cities into more than one congressional district, addresses the issue better than the current configuration.
Every 10 years after the census, the Legislature is charged with changing the legislative and congressional lines to reflect the population shifts. However, for decades, the contentious political process has led the courts to redraw the lines.
Murphy said that with less than a week from posting of the map to committee and floor votes, there was no time for the public to respond. “Does anyone really believe that is enough time … to analyze the plan? To give input on how the people in those districts would be affected by the plan, not only for the vote today, but for all the votes that will be cast by the people in congress who are elected under this plan for the next 10 years?” she said.
Reminding members that Gov. Mark Dayton would most likely veto the plan for lack of bipartisan support, Rep. Paul Marquart (DFL-Dilworth) said that in the past, “We have relinquished our duty as a Legislature to the courts, and it looks like that’s what we are going to do again this year.”