The Gerrymandering bill (HJR2) is moving like greased lightning through the Legislature, and it’s critical that our citizens understand what is happening. In a nutshell, since Idahoans voted in 1994 to amend the Constitution to get rid of partisan gerrymandering, Idaho has had a bipartisan, evenly divided 6-member Redistricting Commission that draws district lines every 10 years. In order to be approved, a map must receive at least 4 votes, so all redistricting must have bipartisan agreement. We have thus been immune for the past 25 years from the bitter partisan gerrymandering battles that have plagued other states. But perhaps no longer.
On Friday, with barely one day’s notice of the hearing, HJR2 passed on a straight party line vote in the House State Affairs Committee. This bill would add a 7th member to the Commission to be selected by GOP elected leaders, creating a 4-3 GOP advantage and allowing the GOP complete control over redistricting. Democrats on the Committee objected to a matter of such importance being rammed through so quickly, and walked out in protest – here’s a helpful article summarizing the proceedings.