Iowa House, Senate approve redistricting proposal

The proposed redistricting map for Iowa's House districts.
The proposed redistricting map for Iowa's House districts.

UPDATE: A new redistricting plan that redraws Iowa congressional and legislative districts for the next decade is on its way to Gov. Terry Branstad for his consideration.

The Senate voted 48-1 to approve House File 682. That verdict came shortly after the House voted 91-7 to approve the redistricting plan drawn by the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency.

“This is an historic day,” said Senate President Jack Kibbie, D-Emmetsburg. “This plan is really amazing” because it carves up Iowa into four congressional districts with a population variance of only 84 people per district.

House State Government Committee Chairman Peter Cownie, R-Des Moines, praised the process, noting that he and Rep. Vicki Lensing, D-Iowa City, recently discussed the process with North Carolina legislators who have drafted a plan based on the Iowa redistricting model.

“The integrity of our process is important,” he said. “I believe there is no better system.”

Lensing called it the Iowa model “a system of honesty, fairness and integrity.”

Branstad has not announced his decision on the plan.

“The governor will continue to study the map and gather all the information he needs prior to making a final decision,” spokesman Tim Albrecht said shortly after lawmakers voted. “The governor has spoken with all of Iowa’s congressmen as a part of this information-gathering process, and is nearing a final decision.”

In addition to creating 27 House districts with more than one incumbent and 14 districts with no incumbent, the map has 14 Senate districts with more than one incumbent. The plan matches up two pairs of U.S. House members.

Democratic Reps. Bruce Braley of Waterloo and Dave Loebsack of Mount Vernon both live in the proposed 1st District that includes Linn County. Loebsack has already indicated he will run in the 2nd District where no incumbent resides.

Reps. Tom Latham and Steve King, both Republicans, are thrown together in the proposed 4th District that stretches across northern and northwestern Iowa.

Des Moines Democrat Rep. Leonard Boswell is a lone in the new 3rd District.

According to the 2010 census, Iowa’s population is 3,046,355. Based on that, the ideal congressional district population is 761,589. For the Iowa Senate, the ideal size would be 60.927 people. For the Iowa House, the ideal population would be 30,464.

Each Senate district has a population of between 60,318 and 61,536. Each House district has a population of between 30,160 and 30,768.

The four congressional districts range from 761,548 to 761,624.

The corrective amendment dealt with a misspelling, a township not included in the legal description, a street referred to as an avenue and reference to the Iowa City corporate line.

If the governor reject it, the plan is dead and the LSA has 35 days to draw a new map that. Branstad said Wednesday he is studying the plan but has not heard a compelling argument to turn it down.

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