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Monday, May 2, 2016

Lines drawn for new districts

Monday, April 18, 2011

Call it a cosmetic approach to the realignment of Putnam County's representation in the Indiana Legislature.

For now, the district numbers and the current faces will stay the same. The lines in them, however, are changing.

These aren't just lines in the sand. They are virtually set in concrete, State Sen. Connie Lawson (R-Danville) told Saturday morning's Legislative Update session gathering at the Putnam County Farm Bureau Boardroom in Greencastle. Especially the redrawn congressional map, she said.

"You used to be in the 8th District, now you'll be in the 4th," she told Putnam County residents.

The nine newly redrawn Indiana congressional districts will transfer Putnam County from the sprawling 8th District that runs through southwest Indiana, all the way to the Ohio River, to the 16-county 4th District more compactly situated in west-central Indiana.

The new 4th District closely resembles the old 7th District that Rep. John T. Myers (R-Covington) ruled for 30 years. Myers was elected in November 1966 and re-elected 14 times before his career ended Jan. 3, 1997.

The motivation in all of this, Sen. Lawson reminded, is to even out each district by population. That means a figure of 720,422 voters per district on the congressional map. As redrawn, five of the districts hit that figure right on the head. Another four are just one voter over at 720,423.

"So the 'one man, one vote' idea works well for Indiana with these proposed districts," Lawson noted.

The maps are "close" to being the law of the land, Lawson added. Second reading of the bill delineating the new maps is set for Tuesday with the third and final reading due Thursday. Meanwhile, the congressional redistricting map is "pretty much set in concrete," she said.

At far as the Indiana House and Senate district maps, "Putnam County came out very well," Lawson said. "We're pleased it worked out so well."

Putnam County remains entirely in District 44 on the House map and is divided again by two Senate districts, 24 and 37.

In contrast, Marion County has nine Senate districts, while Lake County is divided into five Senate districts and Allen County will have four under the proposed plan.

The target number for the Senate district map, Lawson said, was 129,676. She went into revised map effort knowing her district was over that mark by 32,444 already and had grown by an additional new 8,000 residents.

House District 44 Rep. Jim Baird (R-Greencastle) will retain all of Putnam County under the new map plan, but will no longer represent any portion of Vigo County, nor Brazil in Clay County or Washington Township in Parke County.

Instead, the realigned House District 44 will cover Putnam and portions of four other counties, adding five townships in Morgan, a chunk of northern Owen County (the four townships across the northern tier, including those that feed into the Cloverdale School Corporation), northern and eastern Parke County and a portion of western Hendricks.

Under the old State Senate map, Lawson (R-Danville) serves District 24, which includes most of Hendricks County and the nine northernmost townships of Putnam County. Under the new plan, the district will lose pieces of both counties.

Sen. Richard Bray (R-Martinsville) will add to his Putnam County presence by adding six Greencastle Township precincts -- Foxridge, First South, Third East and West and Fourth East and West.

Sen. Lawson will retain the remaining Greencastle Township precincts -- Greencastle North, Limedale, First North and Second East and West.

As a result, Greencastle's First Ward will be represented by two state senators -- the District 24 representative (currently Lawson) will have First North and the District 37 senator (currently Bray) First South.

Bray will have all of Morgan County under the new maps and will lose parts of Owen and Morgan.

Lawson will lose Guilford and Liberty townships in Hendricks County, meaning she will no longer directly represent Plainfield or Clayton in the State Senate.

Saturday morning's Legislative Update was the final such program scheduled locally during the current session of the Indiana General Assembly.

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Why would they split Greencastle into two Senate Districts?

-- Posted by localman on Mon, Apr 18, 2011, at 7:21 AM

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