Senate President Keith Faber said this morning he is 85 percent sure there will be agreement on a legislative redistricting plan that his chamber will pass on Thursday. The House last week passed a redistricting plan with broad bipartisan support that would create a seven-member commission to draw legislative districts. For the maps to take effect for 10 years, they would need approval from at least two minority party members on the commission. Otherwise, the maps must be redrawn again in four years. Under the current system, the party that controls the five-member board gerrymanders districts to its benefit. The House-passed plan provides new criteria on how legislative districts should be drawn, which supporters say reduces the ability to split up communities and gerrymander districts. It also says the commission should attempt to draw maps that do not favor one political party, and create a legislature that reasonably reflects the political makeup of the voting public, a concept known as representational fairness.
“We had people working late into the night to get there and we will continue to work today,” Faber, R-Celina, said. “One of the concerns I have is the House obviously worked on it without it involving the Senate and there are some things that are institutionally concerning. There are some issues that work well if you’re a House member but not so well if you’re a Senate member. It’s about making sure the institutions are equally treated.”
Faber declined to specify what issue he was referring to, but it appears to relate to the plan’s call for districts to be redrawn every four years if the commission cannot reach bipartisan agreement on a map. Senators serve four-year terms, so depending on how things go on the commission, it could mean senators would always run in newly drawn districts.
Faber has noted a handful of changes he would like to see with the plan, such as making sure some of the representational fairness language is clearer.