Sen. John Murante of Gretna has decided not to attempt to override Gov. Pete Ricketts’ veto of a redistricting reform bill that was negotiated for more than two years with Sen. Heath Mello of Omaha. Responding to the governor’s stated constitutional concerns about the proposal, Murante said: “Redistricting is too important. We must get it right. “The good news,” he said, “is that we have time to do so.” Redistricting would not occur again until 2021 following the 2020 U.S. census. Ricketts questioned the constitutionality of the bill (LB580) in his veto announcement on Monday and suggested that it would, in fact, inject more partisan politics into the process rather than achieve the desired result of distancing redistricting from partisan political pressures.
Murante, a Republican, and Mello, a Democrat, worked cooperatively to devise the legislation. Mello will be term-limited out of the Legislature at the end of the year.
Mello said he is “disappointed but not surprised” by the constitutional objections raised by Ricketts in spite of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in an Arizona case that clearly states a similar redistricting reform plan does not abrogate a Legislature’s constitutional responsibility.