Utah lawmakers release congressional redistribution map proposals

The public can comment on the boundaries before a legislative committee meeting on Monday.

(Screenshot) The legislative redistribution committee on Friday, November 5, 2021 proposed a map that would divide Salt Lake County into the four congressional districts of Utah.

The legislative redistribution committee released its proposals for congressional, legislative and school board maps on Friday evening, suggesting that Salt Lake County be divided into four congressional districts.

Each member would represent parts of the Wasatch Front in urban and rural areas – such as District 3, which would include part of Salt Lake County, Park City, Provo and Moab.

The Utahns can provide in-person and online commentary ahead of the committee meeting on Monday. The maps can be found under “Committee Chairs’ Proposal” at citygate.utleg.gov/legdistricting/utah/comment_links. Click “open” under “comment link”.

In lawmakers’ maps, District 1 includes the northern part of the state, which extends to Ogden and East Millcreek. District 2 encompasses the western part of Salt Lake County and the southern parts of the state, including St. George to Blanding. District 3 covers the central part of the state, including Herriman and Nephi. And District 4 stretches across the eastern part of the state, all the way to Moab.

Committee co-chairs Senator Scott Sandall, R-Tremonton, and Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, said they “have considered and implemented contributions from the public, minority and majority lawmakers, and of the Independent Constituency Commission “.

In their press release, Sandall said, “After listening to the Utahns and touring the state, Rep. Ray and I created maps that we believe incorporate the interests of all Utahns. The Congress map we are offering includes the four delegates representing the urban and rural areas of the state.

“Rural Utah is the reason there is food, water and energy in urban areas of the state,” Sandall said. “We are one Utah and believe that urban and rural interests should be represented in Washington, DC, by the entire federal delegation.”

Ray added that he and Sandall “have worked tirelessly to find boundaries that best represent the diverse interests of the people we have been elected to represent. I am grateful for the feedback we have received directly from local communities and look forward to discussing our maps with the committee and the entire Legislature.

The co-chairs will present the cards on Monday, and the committee will then vote on what to recommend to the entire Legislature. State lawmakers are due to meet on Tuesday for a special session to pass maps, which will be finalized later this month.

Members of the independent bipartisan redistribution commission presented their cards to the legislative redistribution committee on Monday.

The nonprofit Alliance for a Better Utah criticized lawmakers’ cards in a Twitter thread posted Saturday morning.

“At first glance, when it comes to keeping communities [u]denies, this map is clearly inferior to the maps produced by the People’s Commission, ”he said. “It turns out that the people best suited to do the redistribution work are a team of impartial commissioners.

“Furthermore, we cannot let the horrible process go unnoticed. Lawmakers released the cards on Friday night. People only have [one] possibility to comment: this Monday at [3 p.m.]. The cards will be voted in the next 2 weeks, but they will have an impact on our lives for 10 years ”, according to the association.

Utah voters created the independent commission in 2018 through Proposition 4. But in 2020, lawmakers gave the independent committee an advisory role in its work, which lawmakers can consider, but are not. not bound by.

An analysis of the FiveThirtyEight website found that the congressional cards proposed by the independent commission would give Democrats in Utah a slight boost. Former congressman Rob Bishop abruptly resigned from the independent commission on Oct. 25, saying the commission was “metrocentric” and ignored rural parts of the state.

Some people have criticized the congressional maps proposed by lawmakers on the Utah Legislative Redistricting Committee website.

“Explain to me how this is not a blatant takeover by people who are terrified of losing their grip on Utah politics?” One person wrote. Another commented, “This map does not reflect the population of Utah. Gerrymander Salt Lake City County into four districts is unfair to rural and urban voters. “

“Please use one of the maps created by the independent commission,” wrote one commentator. “It sounds incredibly like ignoring the will of the people and without concern for transparency.”

One person said the Congress card “will deprive rural areas of the right to vote at the expense of Front Wasatch.” Another commentator asked how the interests of people living in Logan relate to people living in downtown Salt Lake City.

“As a Republican living in a more rural part of the state, I have the same complaint as those who live in Salt Lake,” the person wrote. “Please don’t dilute our vote by dividing us among the four districts! I am much more interested in seeing everyone fairly represented than in electing more people from my own party. “

Bryant Heath, who has raced all the streets of Salt Lake City in 2020, tweeted on Saturday: “Just a normal Saturday morning run through Utah’s four districts in #utleg came up with the Congress card. He included a map of the path he has traveled, which he said he planned to travel 4 miles, passing through the neighborhoods of “those affected by the proposed map.”

More information on redistricting is available at redistricting.utah.gov.

This story is developing and will be updated.

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