Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Legislature releases proposed redistricting plan

The State House and State Senate released their proposed redistricting plan today. Details and links are below. There are some interesting decisions that were made, including the moving of some districts (such as SD18 from eastern Oklahoma to the OKC area). Take a gander at your area for changes (interactive map; you have to fiddle with the layers to view the Senate map as the House is default).

Press releases from both the House and Senate are below:


House Announces Redistricting Plan

The Oklahoma House of Representatives today announced its legislative redistricting plan.

By law, the Legislature must redraw its legislative district boundaries to reflect changes in population every ten years.

“These districts are based on unprecedented public input gathered through the most town halls ever held, several committee meetings involving every House district, and public map submissions,” said Rep. Ryan Martinez, R-Edmond, chair of the House Redistricting Committee. “By putting the public in the driver’s seat, the House was able to produce a very strong map providing fair and proper representation for all Oklahomans for another ten years.”

Rep. Daniel Pae, R-Lawton, is co-chair of the House Redistricting Committee.

“Redistricting is a key aspect of maintaining the integrity of our democracy,” Pae said. “The House’s transparent, inclusive and accessible process produced a plan ensuring every citizen’s voice has equal weight and representation at the Capitol.”

Process

The House, in collaboration with the Senate, from December to March held 22 town hall meetings – 18 in person and four virtual – to solicit input from the public. All Oklahomans were invited to attend, ask questions, submit testimony and talk to lawmakers and staff about what makes the most sense for their community.

Meetings were livestreamed, when possible, and recorded and archived. Previous House meetings can be viewed here: https://okhouse.gov/Video/Default.aspx.

The House used a dedicated email address, redistrictoklahoma2020@okhouse.gov, and website, https://okhouse.gov/Publications/Redistricting.aspx, to accept public comment, answer questions and keep the public informed throughout the redistricting process.

For the first time in state history, all House members served on one of eight Regional Redistricting Subcommittees to ensure representation of all House districts in the process. The full State and Federal Redistricting Committee set policy for the redistricting process.

Results

A map of the proposed House districts can be found in PDF and interactive form at https://www.okhouse.gov/Publications/PropDistMaps.aspx

An additional version can be found at https://arcg.is/eWGnu

The House redistricting plan is based on Oklahoma’s population per the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015-2019 American Community Survey, which was more than 3.9 million. The ideal population for each of the 101 House districts is 38,939.  All 101 House districts were redrawn to be within the 5% (+/-2.5%) population deviation standard set by the House Redistricting Committee.

As required by law, all districts also were drawn to be contiguous, and the overall geographic size of districts was a consideration. Forty-seven districts grew in geographic size; 53 shrank. Only House district, House District 25 in Pontotoc County, did not change.

The largest district is still House District 61 in the Panhandle and northwest Oklahoma, which grew from 7,981 square miles to 8,296 square miles. The smallest district is House District 93 in south Oklahoma City, which covers 6.21 square miles.

Where possible, consideration was given to keeping small towns whole by following municipal boundaries. Consideration also was given to organizing districts in regard to rural, urban and suburban areas. In addition, where possible, the plan takes into consideration school district boundaries and uses main roads, rivers, highways and other physical features for district boundaries.

Extensive public input also was considered. Requests from public input incorporated into the map include:

  • A request from Elk City residents to no longer be split between districts. Elk City and Beckham County are now whole and within House District 55, which remains a rural southwestern Oklahoma district.
  • A request for Pontotoc County to not be split and remain within one House district. House District 25, which currently includes all of Pontotoc County, remains unchanged. Most of the publically submitted maps also kept Pontotoc County whole.
  • A request from community leaders to not split up small towns in eastern Oklahoma County. Nicoma Park and Jones are no longer split between two House districts. Further, the plan moves House District 36 to Oklahoma County and is comprised of the cities of Luther, Jones, Harrah, Choctaw and the northwestern corner of Cleveland County. This gives eastern Oklahoma County more cohesive representation in response to comments made at the very first town hall in Oklahoma City in December.
  • A request from residents of Osage County to not split the cities of Pawhuska and Fairfax. Those cities are now wholly in House District 37.
  • A request for all of Hughes County to be in one House district. Hughes County is now wholly in House District 18.
  • A request for the Brookwood neighborhood in South Oklahoma City to be within the same district. Brookwood is now wholly in House District 91.

Next Steps

House Bill 1198, the bill containing the proposed House districts, begins the normal legislative process next week in the House State and Federal Redistricting Committee. It must be passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor. 

“Public input is not finished. The House released this plan in advance of next week’s committee meeting so the public can continue to weigh in,” Martinez said. “The House will continue encouraging and considering public input throughout the legislative process.”

Under the Oklahoma Constitution, redistricting plans for state legislative districts must be completed by the end of this year’s regular session.

Congressional redistricting has no deadline. The Legislature plans to reconvene in a special session in the fall to complete congressional redistricting and make any necessary adjustments to legislative districts upon the release of final Census data, which was delayed by the federal government until Sept. 30 due to the pandemic.


Senate makes public proposed new district maps
Chair says open & transparent process produced better maps

OKLAHOMA CITY – Senate leaders on Wednesday made public the new district maps and the chair of the redistricting committee says the open and transparent process this time produced better maps.

“Throughout the process, the Senate has operated openly and transparently. We held 22 town hall meetings, both virtual and in-person, across Oklahoma in coordination with the House. We sought public input at every stage, including accepting public map submissions, and shared those results through our website. Because of the open and transparent redistricting process, the Senate district maps this year are more compact and better by most criteria than the 2010 district maps,” said Sen. Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle and chair of the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting.

Click here to view the district maps on the Senate redistricting website or click here for an interactive viewer of the district maps.

“The state Constitution vests the responsibility for redistricting with the Oklahoma Legislature, and we faithfully carried out that charge,” said Sen. Dave Rader, R-Tulsa and vice chair of the redistricting committee. “I appreciate the leadership of Senator Paxton, the diligence and hard work of the Senate redistricting staff, and my fellow senators for their dedication to carrying out this important constitutional duty.”

DISTRICT MAP HIGHLIGHTS

  • The new population number for Senate districts will be 81,935; the population number of the 2010 Senate districts was 78,153.
    • The largest district is District 27 with a perimeter of 765.21 miles.
    • The smallest district is District 30 with a perimeter is 23.2 miles
  • The Senate Select Committee on Redistricting adopted guidelines that no individual boundary would deviate more than 5 percent; the new district maps have a deviation of 3.84 percent.
    • District 48 is 1.97 percent over
    • District 23 is 1.87 percent below
  • Senate District 18 is moving from eastern Oklahoma to the Oklahoma City metropolitan area to accommodate rapid population growth in the Oklahoma City suburbs.
  • The new maps have more whole counties within Senate districts. Fifty-four counties are wholly located within Senate districts under the new maps; the 2010 maps had 51 counties whole.
  • The maps include several requests the redistricting committee received via public comments including:
    • A request from eastern Oklahoma for LeFlore and McCurtain counties to remain in one Senate district.
    • A request to keep Pontotoc County within one senate district.
    • A request to keep Bryan County within one senate district.
    • A request from six of the nine publicly submitted maps to make District 16 a Norman-centric district.
    • A request from Lawton community leaders to have their community represented by two state senators.
    • A request from Duncan area leaders that Duncan continue to be served by two senators.

The Senate Select Committee on Redistricting is scheduled to hold a public meeting next week to consider the redistricting bill, which will be filed this week. That committee meeting will be livestreamed on the Oklahoma Senate website.

If approved by the redistricting committee, the redistricting bill would go to the full Senate for consideration. If approved by the Senate, the redistricting bill would go to the Oklahoma House for consideration. If redistricting bills from the Senate and House pass from both chambers, the bills would go to the governor for signature or veto.

“Throughout our process, we have requested and welcomed public input and that has not changed with the introduction of new district maps. Please reach out to your representatives in the Senate and House with your comments on the new district maps,” Paxton said.

The new district maps and related materials, all comments submitted by the public, as well as archived video of all redistricting town hall meetings and training sessions can be found on the Senate website at www.oksenate.gov/redistricting. The public can submit comments any time to the Senate redistricting staff via e-mail redistricting@oksenate.gov.

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