A proposal for redistricting 2021: Fourteen proposals were submitted to the Redistricting Commission which eliminated the three illogical districts that then existed with district stretching from Driggs to Malad and from Salmon to Gem County and in north Idaho from Bonner County's Sandpoint and including all of Idaho county. Camas and Gooding counties with Blaine County and Twin Falls County with two splits. When there are large spaces with low population there have to be large districts in area (2), but at least they are logical. Our final proposal L074 submitted to the state redistricting commission based on census numbers. After seeing commission proposals I started using them as the base and several plans were submitted ending up with L056 and a later submission putting a Pocatello district within city limits L074. In total fourteen plans were submitted by our committee.
As it turned out the 2021 committee divided into three sub-committees for the north, Treasure Valley, and Eastern Idaho. They submitted an initial plan L01. My verbal testimony to the commission was presented remotely.
Let me speak about plan L056. My goal as I started this mapping process was primarily focused on Districts 7, 8, and 32 from the last redistricting and eliminating the problems caused in those districts. As the base for this plan I used plan L01 from the commission and modified it to fit my goal for southeast Idaho. At first glance it appeared across southern Idaho to have districts with a very north south orientation and Bear Lake was still combined with Teton and a large chunk of Bonneville County along with a part of Bannock County. Commissioner Pence being from Teton, I’m surprised she would want to be attached to Bear Lake. There is no direct connection between the two. It can’t even be said that the road through Bone ties Bonneville to Caribou County. That road goes to Bingham County. I did like the way that no counties were split except for Nez Perce and some difficult combinations were split up. I liked the way L01 had drawn the lines in the Magic Valley area. I first switched Oneida and Power Counties because it was a better fit for Oneida County. Oneida County is not tied to Cassia County by I-84. I-84 barely passes through a remote underpopulated corner of Oneida County. I joined Butte and Custer Counties with Jefferson County along with the western area of Bonneville County in District 32. I think Commissioner Davis indicated that part of Bonneville County was in his district when he was first elected. It was needed for numbers in that district. I joined Fremont County with Teton County and eastern Bonneville County for District 28. Bonneville County still has two complete districts within the county. Bear Lake and Caribou County were added to Franklin and the southeast area of Bannock County in district 27. The northern area of Bannock County including the reservation community of interest area was added to Bingham County. The boundary of district 29 was moved north across I-86. My final moves added some eastern areas of Bingham County, which is tied to Bonneville including by the road through Bone, to district 28. This split was necessary to balance out diversions in population in neighboring districts. As a result of moving Custer County out of district 8, that district was short of people so I added Adams County from District 7. This plan makes for a much better plan than the current in place plan, remembering districts 7, 8, and 32, and maybe 23 and 25. Plan L056. Consider the Sandpoint situation and that it would be around a four hour drive to get from Teton to Bear Lake County. In the hearing in Burley the sub-committee for eastern Idaho asked for help with ideas for how to handle Bannock and Eastern Idaho, L056 is my suggestion.
I later modified this plan and submitted L074. As the commission went through the process the north Idaho and the Treasure Valley sub-committees made some significant improvements to their areas in the state which were submitted in plans L02 and the final plan L03. Although I disagreed with some districts they proposed I could accept what they proposed. The east Idaho sub-committee made almost no changes from their original proposal, ignoring the strong testimony they heard in the hearings. Three rural Precincts in Bannock County were split helping to create an oddly shaped district 28. As one of their final acts they declared that they couldn't accomplish their work without splitting precincts and putting together areas or counties with no major roads connecting them. These were two of the four statutory requirements given them. The hang-up was a hard and fast rule said they could only externally split eight counties. They already had their eight in north Idaho, none left for eastern Idaho. Our committee submitted a challenge to the Idaho Supreme Court alleging that the committee had not treated all parts of the state on an equal footing and that nine external split counties did not violate the constitutional provision that counties not be split as much as possible. There were two counties, another individual, and the chairmen of two native American tribes who also filed challenges though on a different basis than my challenge. The Court denied all challenges and upheld the Commission's proposal. See: (Durst et.al. v. Idaho Commission for Reapportionment, Docket # 49261-2021).
As a result of the Court's ruling we propose an amendment to the state Constitution as follows, striking the underlined portions as unnecessary:
Constitution of the State of Idaho Article III, Section 5. A senatorial or representative district, when more than one county shall constitute the same, shall be composed of contiguous counties, and a county may be divided in creating districts only to the extent it is reasonably determined by statute that counties must be divided to create senatorial and representative districts which comply with the constitution of the United States. A county may be divided into more than one legislative district when districts are wholly contained within a single county.
IDAHO SUPREME COURT IDAHO COURT OF APPEALS
Clerk of the Courts PO Box 83720 (208) 334-2210 Boise, Idaho 83720-0101
SPENCER E. STUCKI, registered voter pursuant to the laws and Constitution of the State of Idaho,
IDAHO COMMISSION FOR REAPPORTIONMENT, and LAWERENCE DENNEY, Secretary of State of the State of Idaho, in his official capacity,
EXPEDITED Notice of Filing Docket No. 49295-2021
A Petition Challenging Adopted Redistricting Plan L03, with attachments, was filed in this Court on December 1, 2021.
NOTE: Filing fee paid.