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Legislative Committee begins work on redistricting

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As a Legislative committee begins to tackle the task of redrawing Legislative boundaries based on population, there’s been some discussion from outside groups on dividing House districts into sub-districts, because of the district’s geographical size.

Each district now has one Senate member, and two House members.

"Some of our rural districts have gotten very large," said House Minority Leader Josh Boschee (D-Fargo), a member of the Redistricting Committee. "For good representation, I think it's best that we have House districts that only have to worry about half the size."

The committee's chair, Rep. Bill Devlin (R-Finley), opposes House subdistricts.

"If the Legislative district want to pick two people from a certain area, and that's the people they want as Representatives, why should we force them to do it differently?" said Devlin.

Senator Ray Holmberg (R-Grand Forks) saids the Committee may be looking at sub-districts in special instances.

"South Dakota has two subdistricts, related to the Native reservations," Holmberg said. "We have to respect what the federal law says regarding minority populations. Certainly, we will be looking at subdistricts, in terms of the reservations."

Holmberg said he would not support sub-districts across the state. He said as it is now, it’s tough enough to find people to run for the Legislature.

The Committee held its first meeting in Bismarck Thursday. There will be a special session this fall to finish the job of redistricting.

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