Sen. John McCollister of Omaha is hoping to get new rules to help map legislative districts along with the new census in 2020 and beyond.
McCollister spoke at the Seward County League of Women Voters’ Redistricting Forum Feb. 10 at the Seward Civic Center. He was joined by Sen. Mark Kolterman of Seward and others.
McCollister’s bill, LB 1207, known as the Redistricting Act, would adopt new law governing legislative procedures for drawing boundary lines of districts represented by elected officials, based on the results of the decennial census.
“LB 1207 would enact standards governing the drawing of district boundaries that are politically neutral and based on census bureau data without consideration of political party affiliation or voting records,” McCollister said in his presentation.
Ideally, he said, the bill would set procedures for dividing the state into districts by designating boundary lines based on population. It would apply to electing congressmen to the U.S. House of Representatives, judges of the Nebraska Supreme Court, members of the state legislature, members of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, members of the Public Service Commission and members of the State Board of Education.
LB 1207 would require population equality with a deviation of plus or minus 1%, as well as contiguous districts (land areas are next to one another, not split).
The maps could not take into account the political affiliation of residents or registered voters or previous voting data.
They could only use information from the U.S. Bureau of the Census and adhere to county and city boundaries.
In addition, redistricting maps would be required to be made available to the public, with at least one public hearing in each congressional district to give the public a chance to give feedback. Redistricting bills could not go to General File in the state legislature until 14 days after the last public hearing, and the governor would have to call a special legislative session within 30 days after adjournment to consider any new versions.
After McCollister's presentation, those in attendance from the League and the public were able to ask questions and discuss the bill, redistricting and the 2020 census.