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News Blog

Monday Night Political Football

by Eric S. Peterson
- Posted // 2011-10-14 -

Monday, the Legislature meets to ideally approve a final congressional map. Democrats are ready to sue and a protest rally is ready make some noise against the process they say disenfranchises Utah voters.

The Legislature is scheduled on Monday to conclude the arduous, months-long redistricting process by approving a final map that will set the boundaries for Utah’s four congressional districts for the next decade. Democrats have already threatened a lawsuit against the Legislature for rigging the process, and have alleged that Republicans conspired to protect their power elites by pushing to pass a congressional map that had not been vetted by the public during a closed-door Republican caucus meeting held Oct. 4.

House Republicans backed away from that map but are hoping that two possible maps authored by Redistricting Committee Chair, Rep. Ken Sumsion, R-American Fork, that are modifications of the Senate’s approved map will pass.

The map called “Sumsion 15” divides Salt Lake County three ways, combining Salt Lake City with much of southern Utah. Another district in that map places Park City in the same northern district with Logan and Ogden, while West Valley City and the southwest corner of Salt Lake County share a district with the south and west portions of Utah County.

“Sumsion 16” is similar to 15 except that the new 4th District boundaries pull in rural Sanpete and Emery counties as well as a portion of Juab County into the same district as parts of Utah and Salt Lake County.

While Republicans hunger for “pizza” maps that combine rural and urban sections of the state, Democrats, too, have given up on a “donut hole” map that would keep Salt Lake County whole in favor of their own compromise “pizza” map, “Garber Modified King.”

Proposed by Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, the map is a modification of a citizen-submitted map created by David Garber. King’s modification divides Salt Lake County two ways but keeps most of Salt Lake City in a district shared with Park City and Summit County. Salt Lake County is split on the west by being shared in a district with West Valley City and western and southern Utah County. In the map, only Salt Lake, Davis and Utah Counties are split, and each split only two ways.

“My effort in doing this is to take a map from the public, make some tweaks as logical, and I’m offering it as a compromise,” King said in introducing the map.

Activists and Democrats worry that the outcome of the map is a foregone conclusion, and they plan to rally outside the Capitol in protest. If you want to see legislative sausage-grinding at its most brutal, check out the special session, Monday, Oct. 17, at the Utah State Capitol, 350 N. State, starting at 9 a.m.

If you get map rage by the end result, you can join protesters with the group Represent Me Utah, who will be rallying outside the Capitol from 5-8 p.m.

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