Saturday, August 01, 2009

Utah Needs Redistricting Standards

It's true that your vote may not always count for much in Utah

By Jim Hutchins

I want to put in a plug for the Fair Boundaries Initiative.

Fair Boundaries would put into place a non-partisan committee that would oversee the redistricting process to follow the decennial census in 2010.

Clearly, the legislature does not want this to happen. House Speaker Clark has come out strongly opposed to such a measure. That should not surprise anyone who has witnessed the legislature's inability to settle for anything less than absolute authority over all aspects of the political and social life of Utah citizens.

Yet, it has been endorsed by KSL.

As a WSU faculty member, I'm proud of the leadership role Weber State students have taken in moving this forward. Along with redistricting reform, the WSU student analysts also recommended the creation of an independent ethics commission.

As a Utah voter, please take a look at the issue and decide for yourself. You can click on the first link above to help with the upcoming petition drive, or join the Facebook group. I'm confident that you will agree with me that an independent redistricting commission is a necessity in Utah.


Rockford said...

In most states, the rules within the legislature accord almost absolute power as regards the creation of districts.

This surely helps create lifetime politicians, and can allow a party on the decline to buck the trends and hold onto power well into the demographic shift that necessitated the gerrymandering.

Because the party in power would have to vote against their own interests in order to get any meaningful reform passed, it remains country-wide one of the bastions of roughshod power politics and blatant shady maneuvering.
Mostly legal.

Best of luck.

Jim Hutchins said...

I hear you, Rockford.

Still, independent or at least semi-independent commissions are becoming an important feature in a large number of states.

The National Conference of State Legislatures has a table of how it's done, state by state.

In my dreams, I'd like to see Utah follow the Iowa model.

(Full disclosure: my brother-in-law works at NCSL.)

Curmudgeon said...

Comment bumped to top shelf

see, I Told you so said...

I believe that redistricting is the most fare way in Utah right now. Just ask all the republicans in the legislature. After all we own this government and that is the way it is and no one will take it from us.
So you just try and see what happens to you. We have the power and no one will take that from us and we will continue to rule this Mormon state.

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