An Omaha lawmaker is taking another stab at creating an independent advisory commission of citizens to redraw the state’s political maps. Introduced by State Sen. Burke Harr, Legislative Bill 216 is similar to a proposal brought last year by Sen. John Murante of Gretna and then-Sen. Heath Mello of Omaha. Gov. Pete Ricketts vetoed the bill, citing constitutional objections. Murante did not seek a legislative override and has introduced LB 653, his own redistricting proposal, this year. Harr told members of the Legislature’s Executive Board on Monday that he’s willing to work with Murante toward a compromise and has looked at Ricketts’ concerns. “I reintroduced the bill taking into account the governor’s concerns,” he said.
But attorney Steve Grasz, speaking on his own behalf, argued that the proposal “raises more constitutional issues than a law professor on exam day.”
He said the proposal, among other things, would violate the state Constitution’s requirement that the Legislature conduct legislative redistricting.
“It cannot delegate this key legislative function to others” any more than it could delegate appropriating money to an outside group, he said.