SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News)- Lawmakers in Utah are working to repeal voter-approved Prop 4, enacted in the November 2018 general election, proponents say.
Prop. 4, creates an independent redistricting commission meant to address gerrymandering. That commission then makes recommendations to the legislature, but the legislature has the right to enact or reject the proposed maps.
Many lawmaker have told ABC4 that they consider boundary recommendations part of their job, as per the Utah Constitution. They see Prop 4 as an invasion of their duties.
Senator Bramble is running a bill to address what he calls “constitutional concerns” in regards to Prop 4 but he says it isn’t a repeal…yet.
But, “repeal still could be on the table through a substitute,” he admits. “Personally I would reject an all-out repeal,” says Bramble. “I feel the same,” says Sen Vickers.
Bramble says there is no clear definition of gerrymandering and symmetry.
The initiative passed 50.3% in favor and 49.7% against. Since that time, the group Better Boundaries says they have been working to convince legislative leadership not to repeal the law or to at least preserve Prop 4’s core anti-gerrymandering provisions.
Bramble says his bill contains most of the compromise points the two sides have been working on.
“After extended discussions over two sessions, it now appears the legislature is dead set on repeal, as they have been unwilling to accept any compromise that preserves Prop 4’s ban on partisan and incumbent-protection gerrymandering,” said Rebecca Chavez-Houck, Executive Director of Protect Better Boundaries, “From our discussions with legislative leadership, they are insisting that the law must be changed so that the independent redistricting commission is permitted to recommend gerrymandered maps to the legislature.”
Bramble says his bill still creates and funds an independent commission. He says it does not include “a standard that can’t be defined in statute.” Again, he says those standards are “gerrymandering and partisan symmetry.”
For more on the group Better Boundaries, click here.
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