Democratic redistricting reform fails on party lines

The House State Affairs unsurprisingly killed an attempt by Democrats to change how South Dakota’s redistricting process would work.

Rep. Peggy Gibson, D-Huron, championed House Joint Resolution 1001, which would have set up a nonpartisan redistricting commission, established single-member House districts and a special mid-decade redistricting.

She said it was fair to “take some of the politics out of redistricting.”

The South Dakota Farmers Union supported the measure, specifically single-member House districts, which the group’s lobbyist said would lead to more rural representatives.

Rep. Jim Bolin, R-Canton, was opposed. He said redistricting is something that should be in the hands of elected officials, not appointed officials.

Bolin also praised the 2011 redistricting process as fair and effective.

Had HJR 1001 passed, it would have sent the measure to the voters as a proposed constitutional amendment.

The committee voted along party lines to kill HJR 1001 8-4, with all Republicans opposed and all Democrats in favor.