MN House Redistricting Chair: There’s still time to pass a map

Rep. Sarah Anderson, R-Plymouth, is making another round of calls to her DFL counterparts in the hope of getting ideas on how the state’s legislative and congressional boundaries should be drawn. Anderson, who chairs the House Redistricting Committee, sent letters to the 62 Democrats in the Minnesota House asking for advice on the maps.

Gov. Dayton vetoed the GOP redistricting plan in May. Since then, most observers predicted that a court appointed panel will have to draw the maps. But Anderson says she’s still hoping the Legislature can pass a map that Dayton can sign.

“It may not be an entirely a new map, it may be adjustments to the map we have currently,” Anderson said. “I’m just looking to try to come up with a plan that everybody can get behind.”

Anderson admits that there may not be more that she can do to get a new set of maps signed into law but said she wants to “try everything” before the deadline to enact a new set of maps passes.

Democrats have criticized the way Republicans designed the maps and released them to the public. They say the public had no time to view and comment on the proposed maps before they started moving through the committee process. Democrats say public hearings should have been held. Anderson and others argue that the committee held 13 public hearings in several parts of the state before Republicans designed the maps.

Anderson and others also say it’s Democrats who have not released a plan for the public to view. DFL Party Chair Ken Martin said they will release a map after the five-member judicial panel finishes taking public testimony.

Meanwhile, the court has issued another set of deadlines regarding redistricting. The court will hear oral arguments on Oct. 26 on what criteria should used to design the maps. The parties have to submit their motions to adopt redistricting plans by Nov. 19. Oral arguments on the plans will be on Jan. 4.

Gov. Dayton and the Legislature have until Feb. 21 to enact a new set of maps into law. The court will take over the process and draw the lines if no agreement is reached by then.

  • Ralph Crammedin

    Sarah Anderson must think the DFL is Charlie Brown and redistricting is a football.

  • This makes perfect sense for the simple reason that if the court draws the lines they will not consider things like incumbent residency (at least in theory).

    Because of this the GOP legislature would much rather pass a compromise map that protects as many of their incumbents from being drawn into districts with other incumbents as possible. Even if this means also having to protect DFLers from the same fate.

    It’s clearly in the GOP’s best interest for the maps to come out of the legislature. For the DFL though, this presents an interesting choice; let the courts draw the map, or cut a deal with the GOP on an incumbent protection map.