Magic Valley next stops for redistricting tour

by Logan Finney, Idaho Reports

The 2021 Idaho Commission for Reapportionment, which is in charge of drawing new legislative and congressional maps after the 2020 census, continues their statewide tour this week in the Magic Valley.

The commission is seeking feedback from local communities of interest, including “demographics, economics, geography, population trends and political and historical factors.” The meetings will be streamed on Idaho Public Television’s Idaho In Session.

Wednesday, Sept. 29
7 p.m. to 10 p.m. 
Community Campus
Minnie Moore Room
1050 Fox Acres Rd, Hailey, ID 83333
Twin Falls
Thursday, Sept. 30
6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
College of Southern Idaho
Fine Arts Center
315 Falls Ave, Twin Falls, ID 83301
Friday, Oct. 1
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Burley City Hall
City Council Chambers
1401 Overland Ave, Burley, ID 83318

The commission spent the last two weeks gathering public feedback in the Treasure Valley and in North Idaho.

Three proposed maps have been put forward: two congressional maps and one legislative map, designated L01.

The first congressional proposal is essentially the same as the current map. The second proposal would create a new southwestern congressional district centered on the Treasure Valley, made up of Washington, Payette, Gem, Canyon, Ada, Boise, Elmore, Owyhee and Twin Falls counties.

Legislative map L01 keeps the city of Twin Falls in a standalone legislative district, similar to the existing District 24. Unlike the existing map — which splits off a western portion of Twin Falls County — L01 groups the rest of the county in a district with Gooding and Camas counties. Another district contains Jerome, Lincoln and Blaine counties. Finally, existing District 27 of Cassia and Minidoka counties is expanded to include Oneida County.

Those maps are a starting point for the commission to gather feedback. Commissioners have repeatedly said they are not touring the state to convince constituents of this plan, but to gather input on how to improve it.

“If the proposed legislative district plan came up before this commission for a vote today, it would probably fail on a zero to six vote,” commission member Bart Davis has said.

The commission legally has until the end of November to finalize a redistricting plan, though the members have repeatedly said they hope to complete the process before then.

New legislative districts are not allowed to have a population difference greater than 10%. The commission is also constitutionally required to avoid dividing counties between districts as much as possible. Idaho Supreme Court precedent indicates they must choose the map with the fewest county splits, even if another map better suits communities of interest.

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