Monday, January 31, 2011

Steele Names House Redistricting Panel

House Speaker Kris Steele today announced the appointment of a bipartisan House Redistricting Committee, which will oversee the redrawing of state and federal legislative lines during the 2011 legislative session.

“Because redistricting impacts every Oklahoma citizen, we are committed to a fair and reasonable process as we adjust district lines to reflect the changing population of our state,” said Steele, R-Shawnee. “I have complete faith in the ability of the members of the House Redistricting Committee to work to ensure Oklahomans have equitable and reasonable representation based on objective criteria.”

Rep. Dale DeWitt chairs
Redistricting Committee
“Redistricting is one of the most important issues we will deal with this year,” said Rep. Dale DeWitt, a Braman Republican who will chair the committee. “I am confident in the expertise and professionalism of the members of this committee. And I am certain they will work hard to ensure an appropriate process that creates fair and balanced districts meeting the criteria required by law.”

The committee’s members include lawmakers from across the state, rural and urban. The committee members include the following:
Dale DeWitt, R-Braman, committee chair Danny Morgan, D-Prague, committee vice-chair

North/Northeast Oklahoma Subcommittee Ron Peters, R-Tulsa – subcommittee chair Jabar Shumate, D-Tulsa John Trebilcock, R-Broken Arrow Jadine Nollan, R-Sand Springs Wade Rousselot, D-Okay

Eastern Oklahoma Subcommittee Paul Roan, D-Tishomingo – subcommittee chair Doug Cox, R-Grove George Faught, R-Muskogee Chuck Hoskin, D-Vinita Marty Quinn, R-Claremore

West/Northwest Oklahoma Subcommittee Jeff Hickman, R-Dacoma – subcommittee chair Purcy Walker, D-Elk City Dennis Casey, R-Morrison Sean Roberts, R-Hominy Mike Jackson, R-Enid

Southern Oklahoma Subcommittee Don Armes, R-Faxon – subcommittee chair Wes Hilliard, D-Sulphur Lisa Billy, R-Purcell Emily Virgin, D-Norman Scott Martin, R-Norman

Central Oklahoma Subcommittee David Dank, R-Oklahoma City – subcommittee chair Randy McDaniel, R-Edmond Scott Inman, D-Del City Tom Newell, R-Seminole Anastasia Pittman, D-Oklahoma City

By law, the Legislature must redraw its district and congressional boundaries to reflect changes in population every 10 years immediately following the decennial Census.

According to 2010 Census figures, the state’s population increased by 8.7 percent in the past decade. As a result, the ideal population for each state House district will be 37,142 citizens, an increase of 2,977 people compared to the last round of redistricting.

For state Senate districts, the ideal population will now be 78,153, an increase of 6,265. Oklahoma lost one congressional seat in the last reapportionment process, but will retain its five congressional seats for the 2012 election cycle and the next decade.

According to the most recent figures, the ideal congressional district population will now be 750,270, an increase of 60,139 per district compared to the last round of redistricting.

In preparation for the redistricting task, Steele named a Redistricting Steering Committee last August. The group, charged with developing guidelines for the process, has held meetings across Oklahoma to gain input from citizens. Under the Oklahoma Constitution, state legislative redistricting must be completed by the end of the regular session in May.

There is not a deadline for the Legislature to redraw the congressional district boundaries, but the goal is to complete the work prior to candidate filing for congressional offices in 2012.

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