Skip to comments.4th district map to get OK today
Posted on 12/04/2006 12:41:48 PM PST by Dr. Zzyzx
Even though there's no guarantee Utah will get a fourth congressional seat anytime soon, lawmakers are meeting today in special session to approve a new redistricting map for the state.
"We're doing our part to keep the momentum going on this important issue," Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.'s spokesman, Mike Mower, said.
The governor called the Legislature into special session to come up with a map in time for the lame-duck Congress to take action. But congressional action is becoming increasingly unlikely given the amount of other issues Congress has to tackle in the coming days. Still, Huntsman has said a pending bill in Congress linking Utah's fourth seat to full House voting privileges for Washington, D.C., is the state's best chance to gain additional representation in the U.S. House before the 2010 Census.
So, lawmakers reluctantly agreed to draft a new map that divides the state into four congressional districts by quickly putting together a redistricting committee and holding public hearings throughout the state last week. Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, co-chairman of the redistricting committee, said while some other legislators may want to change the resulting committee proposal, known as Plan L, he believes it will pass with strong bipartisan support.
The 2001 Legislature passed a four-seat plan just in case the U.S. Supreme Court, in a challenge by Utah, gave the state another U.S. House member. But the high court turned down Utah's petition. Bramble said Plan L is "by far" a better plan than the four-seat plan adopted in 2001.
"We're not starting from zero. We have a plan we don't like," Bramble said. "We've proven we can do better than that with the commitment from Republicans and Democrats to find common ground."
The Legislature should adopt Plan L on Monday, Bramble said, because if lawmakers don't take action, then there's no chance the lame-duck session of Congress will take up the issue later in the week.
Bramble said it's not clear what will happen once the Legislature acts. "We're getting mixed signals. We don't control what they do back there. What we do control is whether we have in statute a plan we think is the best we can do."
Members of the congressional committee considering the bill that would give Utah a fourth seat have made it clear they wanted to see a new redistricting map. The 2001 map was widely seen as unfair to the state's lone Democrat in Congress, Rep. Jim Matheson. If Congress doesn't act this year, there's some question whether the new, Democrat-controlled U.S. House and Senate convening in January would be willing to consider a fourth seat for Utah. The chances of the state seeing a fourth seat anytime soon would be hurt further if the new Congress had to wait for Utah lawmakers to hash out a redistricting plan during their general session that begins in mid-January.
There will likely be several amendments to Plan L or new redistricting maps debated at Monday's special session, which starts at 10:30 a.m. on Capitol Hill. Already, Rep. Ben Ferry, R-Corinne, has put forth a redrawn Plan L that puts rural Morgan County into Matheson's redrawn 2nd District, which is not primarily Salt Lake County. And Sen. Mike Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, will have amendments that keep his hometown entirely in a single district, not split as in Plan L. Yet to be determined is exactly how a fourth seat would be filled. The governor has said there would have to be a special election early next year for all four seats because of all the boundary changes.
The governor has said figuring out the details of that election which Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert has said could cost $6 million can wait. However, he has asked lawmakers during the special session to consider making technical fixes to two previously passed bills.
The democrats are afraid Utah could redraw their map so that, with 4 districts, a democrat couldn't win in ANY of the districts, giving the republicans TWO extra seats instead of just one to balance the democrat seat in DC.
The republicans meanwhile are just afraid someone will be stupid enough to pass this rediculous plan to grant DC a vote in the house.
That can't be done without a constitutional amendment.
Matheson will be able to find at least one district where he can win. He was heavily redistricted in 2002 and still survived in a ~70% Bush district.
From what state will Utah take away their new seat?
North Carolina. We got our 13th seat at the loss of Utah's 4th. The 13th district is where Vernon Robinson ran, and lost, last year. It's safely Democrat.
Nothing will change until after the 2010 census.
UT has often had a strange habit of electing 'Rat Congressmembers even in heavily GOP districts. Although Matheson barely won reelection in '02, there were some that said he didn't draw the strongest possible opponent that year, nor in '04 or '06. Presumably he'll remain until either Hatch or Bennett retires to try to take a run for the Senate. A 'Rat hasn't won a Senate race there since 1970. Personally, I oppose this 4th seat move solely because this is an attempt to give DC a full-blown voting House member, which strikes me as Constitutionally dubious. If we're going to empower DC, why not give the Conservative GOP Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico a vote, too ?
Should be a correction there. No state will lose a seat with this move, the addition of 1 member from UT and Holmes from DC means the total number of House members would increase to 437 until January 2013 when it would return to 435.
NC will stay at 13 districts (and 15 electoral votes) following the 2010 Census.
Where will UT's new seat come from?
Out of thin air. It's not coming from ANY state. See post #9.
This bill would expand the size of the House of Representatives from 435 to 437 -- no state would lose a seat. Note that this new Utah seat is NOT a lock for the GOP. Democrat Jan Graham is almost certain to run for a seat, and is one of the more popular politicians in the state.
A stupid bill in any case.
US Constitution, Article 1, Section 2: That The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states, and the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature.
First of all, the Utah legislature had already drawn a map for 4 members in 2002---they were hoping that the Supreme Court would rule that it, and not North Carolina, would get the 435th congressional district allocated (Utah got robbed, but that's a story for another day). This whole thing smells of a publicity stunt to try to draw attention to that outrageous (and unconstitutional) bill by Virginia RINO Tom Davis.
If Congress can give a House vote to the delegate from DC, why couldn't it give a House vote to people selected by the House leadership? Surely Pelosi's staffers should each get a vote; they have no less of a mandate from a "State" than does Eleanor Holmes-Norton. And if Congress can decide to add an extra Representative after the Census numbers come in and it's clear what state will get that Representative, it can just as easily reduce the size to 434 or 433 if the last two states that would get extra Representatives are from the opposing party. This corrupt maneuver by Davis violates Article I, Section 2, Clause 1 (which is, like, in the first page of the Constitution, so Davis wouldn't need to read very far before reaching it), which states that the House shall be composed of members elected by "the several States," not by the States and whomever else Tom Davis wishes to let vote; the bill also violates the Apportionment Clause by moving the goal line after the Census has been held. If the House and Senate pass this legislative turd, and President Bush gets some of Karl Rove's famous advice ("Mr. President, voters in DC will become Republican if you sign it"), the courts should immediately enjoin it from going into effect.
I think that it is a travesty that the U.S. citizens who reside in DC do not get to elect representatives to the legislative body that approves laws that affects them, just as it is a travesty that the same thing happens to the U.S. citizens who live in Puerto Rico, Guam, the USVI and the Northern Mariana Islands. I think DC should become a State of the Union, but not under its present boundaries, which leave it as a shrinking city that is unfit to be a State. DC and its close-in neighbors in MD and VA should become the State of New Columbia, and since Tom Davis's Fairfax County would be in the new state, he can seek Democrat and RINO votes when he runs for the Senate in that Democrat wasteland. Meanwhile, Virginia would become a safely Republican state in both federal and state races, and Maryland would become a Republican state in gubernatorial and Senate races and a swing state in presidential races. See http://auh2orepublican.blogspot.com/2005/08/fair-and-reasonable-alternative-to-dc.html, which explains how both DC residents and the GOP would benefit from such an arrengement.
As for the other U.S. territories, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Vrgin Islands (joint population of a bit over 4 million) should be admitted as a joint state, and Guam, the Northern Marianas and the small island territories of the Pacific (combined population of a bit less than 250,000) should become part of the State of Hawaii (residents of American Samoa are not U.S. citizens, so I would leave them out of this, at least for now). Puerto Rico would probably be a swing state in federal elections, sine it is similar to Louisiana with its socially conservative, economically populist electorate; the Democrat-leaning voters of the USVI would only comprise around 2.5% of voters in the combined state. As for the new Hawaii, it would be made more Republican by the addition of the Northern Marianas and especially Guam, along with the military personnel in the other islands. President Bush got 45% in Hawaii in 2004, and the race would have been much closer had Guamanians and other islanders been allowed to vote (Guamanians hold a straw poll of the presidential candidates on Election Day, and President Bush beat Kerry by 65%-35%).
U.S. citizens living under the U.S. flag should have the right to elect Senators and Representatives that pass the laws to which they are subject and to vote for the President who executes such laws and could send them to war. My suggestions are not the only way to fix the problem, but I think they are the fairest way to do so.
Let me try that link again:
The House makes its own rules, and Separation of Powers gives the House broad leeway in determining its membership and size. I don't see a court intervening if the Dems want to give EHN a vote in the District. And that's the hard one -- expanding to give an extra vote to Utah is totally above board.
Puerto Rico has been given several opportunities to vote themselves into statehood and they've declined. What should be done is we should cut them loose of the government tit.. As for the District, it should just be ceded back to Maryland, which would thereby gain one House seat, so they can quit their whining.