Home Substantial portion Wyoming Redistribution Process Underway |

Wyoming Redistribution Process Underway |


One of the primary jobs of the Wyoming legislature is to redesign the House and Senate districts following the 2020 census.

The ten-year redistribution process, which was to be carried out on December 1, is still ongoing. The joint corporations, elections and political subdivisions committee met on Monday and Tuesday and made substantial progress, but the end is still a few weeks away.

The outstanding issues for the committee are how to settle the eastern part of the state, particularly around Weston County and whether it remains whole or not, as well as how the Senate districts will be maneuvered. So far, the committee has focused primarily on the House districts.

“The committee is now confident that eastern Wyoming will get another seat in the House and one will be taken in southwest Wyoming,” said committee co-chair, Rep. Dan Zwonitzer, R-Cheyenne.

Some committee lawmakers are proposing nesting (placing House districts within Senate districts) for part of the regions, while other lawmakers believe that all regions should be nested.

“We moved the ball a little, not a lot,” said committee member Rep. Mike Yin, D-Jackson.

There’s also the unresolved question of what to do with Albany County, home to the University of Wyoming, one of the state’s only blue counties. That county’s state lawmakers have repeatedly expressed that they want the county to remain whole as a district, rather than parting ways with neighboring counties of Laramie and Carbon, which are much more Republican.

One possibility, Zwonitzer said, is to split Albany 50-50, giving half to a district that includes part of Laramie and the other half to a district that includes Carbon.

This move would greatly increase the likelihood that these regions would lose their Democratic representation in the Senate.

“The rural-urban divide continues to be a bit messy,” Zwonitzer said. “It’s not a fun and easy process.”

The idea is for the committee to sponsor a bill with a redesigned map, but it is possible that more than one map will be presented to the Legislature.

That said, Albert Sommers, R-Pinedale, and Speaker of the House Eric Barlow, R-Gillette, have both said they would much prefer a bill with one card.

There has also been a lot of talk about minimizing “disruption” to sitting lawmakers by trying not to relocate their districts too much. Due to the discomfort that lawmakers play a major role in determining their own districts, other states have commissioned independent councils to carry out the redistribution.

If the districts are redesigned, lawmakers have constituency changes, which they don’t like because it makes the campaign much more difficult and uncertain, Zwonitzer said.

“Because it’s done by lawmakers, it has to be a political process. So you have to have a bill that can get 31 votes in the House and 16 votes in the Senate, ”Yin said. “Our goal is to face the change that has taken place in our state and find the best way to represent our constituents.”

The next committee meeting is currently set for January 12th. There might be another meeting after that as well, as the start of the session is just around the corner.

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