Special Session: Redistricting clears Senate Committee but some amendments expected

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Democratic lawmakers made it clear Saturday evening they intend to push their redistricting maps through despite strong opposition not only from Republican lawmakers but county officials, Hispanics and Nevada Indian tribes.

They broke for dinner after a daylong hearing on the bill, then returned to the committee room to vote it out and to the floor of the Senate.

Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, D-Las Vegas, said after the committee report is read on Senate Bill 1, the Senate would adjourn for the night.

Both she, and Committee Chairman James Ohrenschall, D-Las Vegas, said there will be several amendments to address the concerns raised during public testimony, particularly by the Indian tribes and Hispanics.

They also must fix a problem caused when the Department of Corrections
sent the State Demographer word Saturday morning that they have updated the addresses of some inmates who must now be counted in the county they were residing in when arrested, not in the prison where they are serving their sentences.

Citizens and organizations complained repeatedly about how difficult the maps are to read online, endless problems from organizations trying to upload their own maps and the inability of many people to connect to the meeting and provide public comment.

It’s unlikely most of the concerns raised by Republicans will get much traction.

The bill passed out of committee on a party line vote with Republicans opposed.

Sen. Heidi Seevers Gansert, R-Reno protested the Senate District 14 map she said would now run all the way from Verdi to Carlin along the Elko County border, nearly 300 miles. Republican Ira Hansen is the incumbent in SD14.

Assembly Minority Leader Robin Titus, R-Smith Valley, said the proposed map of her district cuts Smith Valley in half right along the street where she lives. Her house is in Congressional District 4. Across the street is CD2 where she has traditionally been located.

“How ridiculous is that,” she asked pointing out that she is surrounded by CD2.

Tribal officials objected to the fact the Reno Indian Colony is divided into two different legislative districts and so is the Walker River Paiute reservation.

Sun Valley outside Reno is split into three districts and the area west of the University of Nevada, Reno campus where many students live is also in a different district than the campus itself.

Assemblywoman Jill Tolles, R-Reno, said her district went from 6 percent GOP to 3 percent Democrat in the Democratic maps. Gansert’s Senate District was shifted in a very similar way with a batch of downtown Democrats moved into it, wiping out any GOP registration advantage despite the face the district was about one third Democrat, one third Republican and one third nonpartisan.

In the south, more than a dozen Hispanics testified that their community in Clark County was being split among different districts, minimizing their potential impact on political issues that effect them. They all urged lawmakers to remake that map to restore their community to a single Hispanic majority district.


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