The new plan for drawing election boundaries looks a lot like the original plan settled on during a 1920 Nebraska Constitutional Convention, Sen. John Murante told the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee on Tuesday. The problem is the old plan requiring the state to count “the population excluding aliens,” or noncitizens, for the purposes of setting legislative district boundaries had been forgotten — or ignored — by the Legislature in recent memory. Murante’s solution (LB1115) hearkened back to Article III, Section 5 of the Nebraska Constitution. It removes the estimated number of non-U.S. citizens living in the state, according to the Census Bureau, from being counted for redistricting purposes.
“I believe we cannot simply take a provision of our constitution and ignore it,” Murante told the committee. “Today, we have the means to effectuate this provision.”
Former Omaha Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh, who served on the last redistricting committee formed by the Legislature in 2011, supported LB1115, saying it refreshed an overlooked part of the law.
“I don’t remember this issue coming up in 2011 — I’m kind of embarrassed that it didn’t,” Lautenbaugh said. “It was in the constitution then, too, so we should have dealt with it then.”