House passes new congressional map, Dems say new map is not fair
SALT LAKE CITY – A new congressional map is one step closer to being approved on Utah’s Capitol Hill, despite a lot of objection from Democrats. It sailed through the House of Representatives, and is expected to be brought up on the Senate floor on Wednesday.
Four attempts to replace the legislative map
Opponents of House Bill 2004 tried to substitute four different maps to replace the one being discussed by lawmakers. All four of them failed. Representative Clare Collard tried to swap the legislative map with one created by the Independent Redistricting Commission.
She said, “This is a superior choice, by keeping communities whole and provides fair and equal representation.”
One of the potential substitutes was proposed by Republican Raymond Ward of Davis County. He believes the current map would create too many “safe” districts while getting rid of a possible “swing counties.”
“My fear is that we get to a place where the national House, instead of being the people’s House that changes every time there’s an election, becomes slower to change than the Senate,” he said.
In the end, all four substitutes were overwhelmingly shot down. The House approved the legislative map by a 50-22 vote, with five Republicans voting against it.
Democrats opposition to the new congressional map
Representative Brian King said voters approved the Independent Redistricting Commission, and the maps created by that group should have been discussed instead of the one created by lawmakers. He believes the new map will just give the dominant party more power.
King said, “I think there’s a feeling on the part of the people that the legislature is ignoring them on the congressional map, particularly. And we have a lot of heartburn about that congressional map.”
Other lawmakers claimed the legislative map puts too much emphasis on each district having a good mix of rural and urban areas, even though that’s not required by state law. Representative Andrew Stoddard said Salt Lake County was separated into four different districts, and he questions why.
“There’s different ways to split it. And I feel like splitting counties and communities, unnecessarily is not what we should be prioritizing,” Stoddard said.
Republicans defending it
However, new House Majority Leader Mike Schultz defended the legislative map, saying it provides accurate representation across the state. He also said the claims that they wanted to ignore the IRC are completely wrong.
“This narrative out there that we didn’t listen to the independent commission is just false because we did take some of their ideas and incorporate them into the maps,” he said.
Senator Scott Sandall previously told KSL their map represents the best interest of all Utahns.
“We are one Utah, and believe both urban and rural interests should be represented in Washington, D.C. by the entire federal delegation,” Sandall said.
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