UPDATE: Utah State Legislature approves all congressional redistricting maps

Local Politics

UPDATE: WEDNESDAY 11/10/21 8:09 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The Utah State Legislature has approved all of its redistricting maps after debating over political boundaries for two days.

The House of Representatives voted Wednesday evening, approving the Senate District maps in one last final decision.

The bill now heads to Gov. Cox for a signature or a veto.

ORIGINAL STORY: Utah Senate passes congressional redistricting map

WEDNESDAY 11/10/21 11:46 a.m.

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The Utah Senate has passed its congressional redistricting map less than 24 hours after it passed the House.

Following the Senate’s vote of 21-7-1, the map will head to Governor Spencer Cox’s desk. He has already stated he has no plans to veto the map despite the criticism it has received for the way it splits Salt Lake County.

Below is the map that has been passed, as well as a look at how Salt Lake County has been split:

The Legislative Redistricting Committee chose to draw its own map rather than using one from the independent redistricting commission. Many, including Representative Brian King (D-Salt Lake City), have spoken out about the maps, even calling them “seriously gerrymandered.”

In a Facebook townhall, Governor Cox explained the legality of redistricting, noting that it is the legislature’s power and responsibility to enact these maps.

“I know many of you are thinking that that is a conflict of interest, and you’re right, it is a conflict of interest,” Gov. Cox adds. “I think that’s fairly clear, they get to kind of draw the lines within which they’ll run. But for better or worse, that is the strategy or process, I guess, that was chosen by the founders of our country and the founders of our state.”

He goes on to say that he needs to maintain a working relationship with the state legislature to accomplish some of the “incredible things” on his agenda. Gov. Cox also notes some of the lawmakers have been working “very hard” on the redistricting maps.

“I’m a very practical person,” Gov. Cox explained during a Tuesday night Facebook Live. “I’m not a bomb-thrower and I believe in good governance.”

“The reality is it’s a slap in the face to the many, many people in the State of Utah that participated through the ballot on an initiative saying they wanted an independent redistricting commission,” Senator Luz Escamilla (D-Salt Lake City) tells ABC4. “So by undermining that process is really insulting. The districts themselves are horrible. Cutting the largest portion of population concentration to four districts it’s ridiculous. So it is what it is. It’s gerrymandering at its best at cracking our communities and representation won’t be in place for the next ten years is horrific.”

There is no word yet on when the governor will take action on this legislation.

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