Legislation would alter Idaho’s redistricting commission

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Legislation to add a seventh member to the state’s independent commission in charge of redrawing congressional and legislative maps every decade will get a hearing.

The House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday voted to hear the legislation that could significantly change how the redistricting commission operates.

Redistricting is important because it can decide which party gets the majority of congressional and state legislative seats. It is a contentious issue nationwide.

Currently, the commission is comprised of three Republicans and three Democrats.

If the proposed legislation becomes law, a seventh commissioner would be selected by the governor, lieutenant governor, state controller, state treasurer and superintendent of public instruction. Those seats are currently all filled by Republicans.

Republicans say the change is needed to end gridlock.

Democrats say it will allow congressional and legislative districts to be gerrymandered to favor Republican candidates.