Two S.D. redistricting plans will be offered

Capitol News Bureau
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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Legislature’s two redistricting committees have gone separate ways on how to align voters for the next 10 years.

The Senate panel plans to recommend Blackbird 2.0 during the November 8 special session that will reset boundaries for many of the 35 legislative districts.

The House of Representatives group meanwhile plans to meet again Friday to fine-tune Grouse 2.0.

Now the difficult negotiation begins. Mary Duvall chairs the Senate committee. She said one of the first things she learned was redistricting was a way to make a lot of people unhappy.

“The final word will not happen until November eighth – and ninth, if it takes that long,” Duvall said. 

If the Legislature’s two chambers can’t agree, the South Dakota Supreme Court must step in and decide.

Senator Casey Crabtree was the primary author of Blackbird. It would give Sioux Falls nine districts. The senators voted 5-2 for it.

Senator Jim Bolin disagreed with that approach. He said Sioux Falls should have no more than seven or eight. “I pretty much know how this vote is going to go,” said Bolin, who instead wanted the Falcon 1.0 plan he had proposed.

Senator Troy Heinert also voted against Blackbird, saying he couldn’t support it. He called for continuing to try to blend in parts of Eagle 2.1. He wants to protect Native American voters in districts 26, 27 and 28 in rural western South Dakota and in district 34 in North Rapid City.

“I think we’re all probably cross-eyed after dealing with this,” Heinert said.

Senator Mike Diedrich said he’d like to see Blackbird 2.0 move forward. He said it had been amended to address “a lot of the issues” that had come up. “I think at this point this is a good compromise or a good-tweaked map.” 

The House committee also met Monday and went with the Grouse plan from Representative Drew Dennert on a 6-2 vote. It has seven Sioux Falls districts and three more for the immediate area: 25 representing Brandon to the east and north, 9 to the west and north, and 6 across the south.

Representative Jon Hansen said the House committee would meet by teleconference again Friday. One of the topics will be discussing ways to possibly work in some of the Hawk 1.0 proposal from Representative Mike Derby.

Derby said he came up with it after the committees finished their listening tour of South Dakota earlier this month. “It landed in your inbox about an hour ago,” he told the other House members.

One of the main differences between Grouse 2.0 and Hawk 1.0 is that Hawk would recognize the Native American voters in a new House sub-district in district 34. That’s the district Derby currently serves.

Dennert said there might be an opportunity to blend the two. “I’m certainly not opposed to that conversation,” Dennert said.

For more on the Legislature’s redistricting effort, go to the sdlegislature.gov and click on the redistricting button. You can also dig into testimony, meeting minutes and other documents at the House committee site and the Senate committee site.

 

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