Management Council updated on redistricting

CHEYENNE – Updates on the redistricting plan highlighted the Management Council meeting on Thursday. 

Co-Chairmen of the Corporations Committee, Rep. Dan Zwonitzer, R-Cheyenne, and Sen. Ogden Driskill, R-Devil’s Tower, talked about the areas which have reached a resolution so far. 

Zwonitzer noted the plan continues with 60 representatives and 30 senators, and regional meetings have been held throughout the state to gauge local perspectives on the new maps. 

Zwonitzer also mentioned the Big Horn Basin region has been solved by going under the 5% deviation from the ideal district population, and the committee is starting to have a better understanding for the lines in Region 6 (Crook, Campbell, Weston) and Region 7 (Converse, Goshen, Niobrara, Platte) after weeks of debate. 

Zwonitzer also updated the committee on concerns over nesting house districts into senate districts as it has traditionally been done but population shifts throughout the state have made it more difficult this year. Rep. Mike Yin, D-Jackson, who serves on both committees, said the Corporations committee will be looking at two maps which will include a nesting and non-nesting option in some areas.  

Representative Chuck Gray, R-Casper, said he is against non-nesting citing constitutional concerns. 

“I really lean against it. I think it creates transparency issues. I think there’s a myriad of constitutional concerns when we de-nest,” Gray said. “I think we need to get consensus around a map, and I think we need to keep nesting.” 

Rep. Albert Sommers, R-Pinedale, asked what specifically created such concerns, and Zwonitzer added Wyoming is one of four states which is not required to nest according to the state constitution but does so anyway. 

Some of the Management Council members expressed concern about the committee’s progress and overall consensus on major issues. Sen. Larry Hicks, R-Baggs, said the committee was split on a vote to accept Sommers’ plan for Region 10 (Lincoln, Sublette, Teton, Uinta) during the meeting on Dec. 28. 

“When I hear statements that there’s consensus on the committee and then I look back to the [second to] last committee meeting and I think that it was Rep. Sommers brought an alternative that was a six-eight vote, I just don’t think that meets the definition of consensus by any form or fashion,” Hicks said. 

Rep. Cathy Connolly, D-Laramie, added she did not think the committee was almost finished largely because they allowed the Big Horn Basin to stay under the required deviation which would force other regions to go above. 

“To me that’s a concern and it would only work if we all agree,” “If you don’t have consensus between and among, not only both chambers but the body, what I see happening is any region that is decreased in their proportional representation will certainly have grounds to make a complaint because of it.” 

Connolly was concerned about talks from last meeting for using her county, Albany, to be used to help with population issues. 

Moving forward, the plan is for the committee to create a bill during the next meeting and then hold one more meeting to address any nuanced changes such as cleaning up district lines. 

The next redistricting meeting will be Jan. 12 at the University of Wyoming at Casper College at 1:30 p.m. 


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