On Monday, fulfilling its redistricting responsibility, the Utah Legislature passed SB3002, 19th Substitute, a new four-district congressional map for the next decade. It was a disappointing finale to a six-month process.
Some unfortunate results of the congressional map are that four counties (Davis, Utah, Juab, Sanpete) are split two ways and Salt Lake County is split three ways, with no concern for maintaining the integrity of communities. Several cities/communities in Salt Lake and Utah Counties were split. (Salt Lake County: Salt Lake City, West Valley City, Kearns, Sandy, Draper, Bluffdale, South Jordan, Cottonwood Heights, Millcreek. Utah County: American Fork, Springville, Spanish Fork, Payson, and Santaquin.) The Daily Herald stated about the map, Opinion: Utah Legislature Commits Crime Against Humanity.
Keeping communities of interest together should have been the guiding principle. Instead, roads form the boundaries of the four districts–nothing logical like city boundaries, school district boundaries, county boundaries, or geographical boundaries.
Contrary to the claims by some of an open and inclusive process, the process must be judged by the final results. Ultimately, the lines of the final congressional map were drawn behind closed doors at the eleventh hour.
In addition, there was no need for all four congressional districts to have an urban/rural mix since that was not an adopted redistricting standard, and looking after all the state’s differences is the job of our United States senators. By passing what we did, we failed to make our representatives experts in any particular issues and generalists in all. We failed to honor the requests of many participants who gave testimony this summer who asked that rural Utah have its own representatives and urban have its own representatives. In our haste to complete the redistricting process, while we got it done, we failed to get it right.
In the floor debate on the bill (35:15 minutes into recording), I called on Governor Herbert to veto the bill. Apparently, the Daily Herald agrees with my call for a veto, Opinion: Governor should veto the map.
GOVERNOR HERBERT, VETO THIS BILL.