After week on committee, senators taking redistricting maps to public

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 6:59 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Monday, Sept. 13, is the first day of Nebraska Unicameral’s special session on redistricting. It is a once-a-decade process that impacts congressional and legislative districts.

After a singular plan didn’t make it out of committee last week, the senators are taking their plans to the public starting in Grand Island on Tuesday. At the center of redistricting, how Congressional District 2 will change due to population data.

The committee has two proposals. Democratic senator Justin Wayne’s plan is to keep Douglas County whole, and add Offutt Air Force Base and Bellevue. Republican senator Lou Ann Linehan’s plan cuts Douglas County in half and adds Saunders and Sarpy Counties.

“A lot of Saunders is agricultural, but there are an awful lot of people, who work in Omaha or Sarpy county that live in Saunders,” said Linehan, from District 39. “It’s a bedroom community to the metropolitan area.”

Senator Lou Ann Linehan's congressional redistricting plan for 2021.
Senator Lou Ann Linehan's congressional redistricting plan for 2021.(Madison Pitsch)

Wayne said keeping Douglas County whole isn’t political.

“To move the core from Douglas County is wrong,” said Wayne, from District 13. “It isn’t democrat, republican. Historically, it’s always been in CD2, so why would we change that now?”

Senator Justin Wayne's congressional redistricting plan for 2021.
Senator Justin Wayne's congressional redistricting plan for 2021.(Madison Pitsch)

33 votes are needed to pass a redistricting map.

“I feel pretty confident in the congressional map,” said Linehan. “You need 33 votes to pass and there are 32 Republicans.”

Wayne said he feels confident there will be a compromise between the two plans.

“We recognize that rural Nebraska needs a voice and is heard in the legislature,” said Wayne. “We have a constitutional obligation to make sure the data, the people are fairly represented across the state. I have all faith in my colleagues that they’ll come down and we’ll negotiate something that makes sense for Nebraska.”

After Thursday’s hearing wraps up, the committee can agree on a singular map to move forward or start floor debate on Friday. The senators will have to reach a conclusion because redistricting is something that has to be done, unlike a bill that can die if not voted out.

The schedule for public hearings is as follows:

  • Sept. 14 at 1:30 p.m. Central Community College 3134 W. Hwy 34 Room 555, Health Science Education Center 3134 W. Hwy 34 Grand Island, NE
  • Sept. 15 at 9:00 a.m. Nebraska State Capitol Bldg. 1445 K St. Room 1524 Lincoln, NE
  • Sept. 16 at 10:00 a.m. Scott Conference Center 6450 Pine St. Omaha, NE

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