State House Redistricting panel slates hearings

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published: 14-Dec-2010

The Oklahoma House of Representatives’ Redistricting Steering Committee will hold a series of public meetings throughout the state in December and January, before the 2011 redistricting process begins. Legislators say the purpose of the hearings is to encourage public input in the redistricting process.

Under the U.S. Constitution, the Legislature of every state must redraw district and congressional boundaries to reflect changes in population every ten years immediately following the decennial Census. The meetings will be open to anyone who would like to attend.

Members of the panel were selected late last summer by Kris Steele, who was recently designated speaker-elect in the state House. Oklahoma is likely to retain its present number of members in Congress.

The next meeting is being held Monday, December 20, at 7 p.m., at the Davis Hall Amphitheatre, 17th & Grand Avenue, on the campus of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (USAO) in Chickasha. Davis Hall is in the middle of the campus oval. Attendees are asked to enter through the glass doors just under the giant mural with historic faces.

According to a release from legislative staff: “Anyone interested may attend.  If you are interested in attending a meeting, but cannot attend this particular one, please call the House Redistricting Office at (405) 557-7468 to find out about other meetings scheduled in other parts of the state.”

The House Redistricting Steering Committee intends to guide the development of a fair and reasonable plan that adheres to all legal guidelines for equal representation. These meetings give Oklahomans a chance to voice their input and concerns before the process of redrawing legislative and congressional lines begins. 

Members of the panel are state Reps. Dale DeWitt of Braman and John Trebilcock of Broken Arrow, co-chairmen; state Reps. Danny Morgan of Prague and Paul Roan of Tishimingo, co-vice chairs. They are joined by Reps. Lisa Billy of Lindsay, Jeff Hickman of Dacoma, Randy McDaniel of Edmond, and Jabar Shumate of Tulsa.

Shumate, Roan and Morgan are Democrats. The remaining five members of the panel are Republicans. Republicans control the House of Representatives with a 71-30 majority.

The agenda for the Chickasha event, and each of the upcoming hearings, will be: 1. Welcome and Introductions; 2. Redistricting briefing; and 3. questions and comments. 

NOTE: Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report.