Redistricting reform legislation designed to distance state senators from drawing politically charged congressional and legislative district maps jumped a last-ditch filibuster Wednesday and was enacted on a 29-15 vote. The bill (LB580) goes on to Gov. Pete Ricketts for his consideration and appears to face an uncertain fate. Several members of the Legislature privately confided that some of their colleagues were receiving text messages from the governor’s office expressing opposition to some of the bill’s provisions during Wednesday’s debate. Ricketts declined to express any opinion about the bill during a recent news conference.
The reform legislation, a product of several years of cooperative negotiation by Sen. John Murante of Gretna, a Republican, and Sen. Heath Mello of Omaha, a Democrat, would create an independent citizens commission to draw the maps defining a number of governing districts.
Those redistricting maps then would be submitted to the Legislature for its consideration. The bill’s provisions would become operative in 2021 following the 2020 U.S. Census.