Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver says Thursday’s Iowa Supreme Court statement about how it might handle redrawing the maps for legislative districts was “a little vague,” but if U.S. Census data arrives after the deadline for legislative action,
Whitver believes the court will still let the House and Senate to handle redistricting.
“People across the country say Iowa has one of the best, if not the best system,” Whitver says, “and so it makes sense to me that we should try to use that.”
While political parties in most other state legislatures draw up new districts that favor one party over another, Iowa has a non-partisan redistricting process. If legislators fail to approve any of three new maps generated by a non-partisan agency, the constitution says the Iowa Supreme Court then has the final decision on district lines. Thursday’s written statement indicated the court hopes to adhere to the redistricting law “to the extent possible.”
“If it gets past that constitutional September 1st deadline, it sounds to be me like they want us to — even if it’s later than that date — use the current process that’s outlined in Chapter 42 of the Iowa Code,” Whitver says.
The state’s non-partisan redistricting process should be well underway, but the Biden Administration notified states the U.S. Census data usually delivered by April 1st won’t be sent until as late as September 30th. Iowa’s Constitution requires the Iowa Supreme Court to take over if the legislature fails to approve new legislative district maps by September 1.
“This is a really important issue because every 10 years — back to an equal size,” Whitver says. “We’d be about done with that in a normal year, but because the Census data has been delayed, it has really made our process difficult.”
Whitver, a Republican from Ankeny, made his comments during taping of “Iowa Press” which airs tonight on Iowa PBS. At the end of the program, Whitver said he intends to seek reelection to the state senate in 2022.