Redistricting A Top Priority for State Legislative Session
ST. PAUL -- Besides balancing the budget, and dealing with issues related to the coronavirus, one of the top jobs for state lawmakers this session is to redraw the lines for congressional seats as well as the state senate and house.
Minnesota law requires that during the first legislative session after the census a redistricting plan needs to be presented by the end of the session.
Eric Ostermeier is with the Humphrey Institute. He says it always gets complicated because we have a divided legislature, the governor can either sign it into law or veto it, citizens can sue, and the state and federal courts can weigh in. He says it is expected Minnesota will lose a congressional seat this year, so that will make it even more challenging.
What is probably going to happen for the first time since the 1960 census is Minnesota is likely going to lose a seat. We narrowly escaped that after the 2010 census.
In a typical census year, we'd already know by now how many congressional seats we'd have, but that's been delayed due to COVID-19.
Ostermeier says Minnesota hasn't had a smooth redistricting in the last half-century.
In the 1970s it was the federal courts who ended up drawing the maps, after the 1980 census it was the federal court, the 1990s it was a combo of the state and federal courts ultimately going with the state court panel, and in 2000 and 2010 it was the state court five judge panel that ultimately drew the maps.
About the only thing both political parties can agree on is they like to have their incumbents safe.
There is a final deadline in state statute set for 25 weeks before the primary election, so that would be February 15th of 2022.