CHEYENNE — The 2012 legislative redistricting bill is halfway home, having easily passed the Wyoming House on Friday on a 49-9 roll call vote.
The bill now goes to the Senate where it is not expected to encounter serious opposition.
A major early problem with the plan from the Senate’s perspective was it put Sen. Curt Meier of LaGrange into the same Senate district as Wayne Johnson of Cheyenne.
The House committee on Corporations, Political Subdivision and Elections took care of that difficulty when it approved an amendment.
The plan now creates a new Senate district in Goshen County by reconfiguring the borders to take in the population of the Wyoming Medium Security Prison near Torrington, as well as LaGrange — Meier’s hometown.
As the bill goes to the Senate, it doesn’t dislocate any sitting senators.
The committee’s job was to realign the state’s 60 House districts, nestled in 30 Senate districts, to conform to 2010 U.S. Census figures.
Wyoming’s population grew 14 percent from 2000 to 2010 to total 563,000, according to the census.
Complicating the redistricting effort was the uneven distribution of new residents, with the majority of growth in six counties. The largest population decrease was along the state’s eastern border.
Rep. Pete Illoway, R-Cheyenne, who is not seeking re-election this year, credited hard work over the past year by the Joint Interim Committee on Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions. Illoway is chairman of the House corporations committee.
House Speaker Ed Buchanan, R-Torrington, said the plan evolved into something everybody can live with.
The plan puts Buchanan in the same district as Rep. Matt Teeters of Lingle. Buchanan has said he doesn’t plan to seek re-election this year.
Another conflict is the result of putting Reps. Owen Petersen, R-Mountain View, and Alan Jaggi, R-Lyman, in the same House district.
“Most of the complaints were coming to me in late November and December,” Buchanan said. “My advice to people was, ‘Let’s wait until we get a final product out of the committee.’”
The House corporations committee made some changes affecting Goshen County and Laramie County.
Those changes improved Goshen County’s representation and gave it the potential to have three representatives.
“I think the lack of number of amendments is indicative of the effort the committee put into the process,” Buchanan said. “I think most people are satisfied. Not happy, but satisfied.”
The nine representatives who voted against the bill were Peterson; Jim Byrd, D-Cheyenne; Hans Hunt, R-Newcastle; Sam Krone, R-Cody; Frank Peasley, R-Douglas; Mark Semlek, R-Moorcroft; “Jeb” Steward, R-Encampment; Clarence Vranish, R-Evanston, and Dan Zwonitzer, R-Cheyenne.
Reps. Gerald Gay and Steve Harshman, both R-Casper, were excused.