CHEYENNE — Despite expectations of a long, contentious debate, the Legislature’s 2012 redistricting bill sailed through the House on Wednesday on voice vote — with only one minor change.
House Bill 42, sponsored by the Joint Interim Committee on Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions, comes up for a second vote today.
Expectations of at least one amendment to change the configuration in the southwest corner of Wyoming faded Wednesday.
Rep. Owen Petersen, R-Mountain View, said earlier he doesn’t like the committee plan. He predicted there would be a series of amendments when it came to the floor of the House.
Petersen said Wednesday, after the House tentatively approved the plan, that the Uinta County delegation decided “collectively” not to oppose the redistricting bill.
The plan leaves Petersen and Rep. Allan Jaggi, R-Lyman, in the same district, meaning they will have to face one another if both run for re-election.
As it now stands, the proposal has the same effect on only one other district — in Goshen County, where it puts Rep. Matt Teeters, R-Lingle, and House Speaker Ed Buchanan, R-Torrington, in the same district.
However, Buchanan said he will not seek re-election.
The committee on Tuesday adopted a change that created a new Senate district in Goshen County that includes the LaGrange residence of Republican Sen. Curt Meier.
The original plan put Meier in the same Senate district as Sen. Wayne Johnson, R-Cheyenne.
When the bill came to the floor of the House Wednesday, Rep. Hans Hunt, R-Newcastle, offered his amendment that would redistrict the eastern part of Wyoming.
“The plan follows county lines as much as possible,” Hunt said.
Members of the committee opposed the amendment on grounds it had not been vetted by the county clerks and could disrupt school district boundaries and otherwise create problems during elections.
Rep. Tim Stubson, R-Casper, a committee member, said Hunt’s plans could have other unforeseen consequences. For example, it could mean only three representatives for Campbell County.
The fastest-growing county in the state qualified for five state representatives based on the 2010 U.S. Census, but will get only four because some of its population went into Converse County to make the committee’s plan work.
“We’re not mischief makers,” said Rep. John Patton, R-Sheridan, another committee member. “We did the best we could.”
The committee plan realigns the state’s 60 House districts, nestled in 30 Senate districts, to conform to census figures.
Wyoming’s population grew 14 percent from 2000 to 2010 to total 563,000, according to the census.
The majority of the growth was in six counties, including Campbell, which will get more representation in the Legislature while counties that lost population, like those along the eastern border, will have less.
The only amendment adopted Wednesday was a minor one to restore a Cheyenne district line west to Central Avenue from Warren Avenue.
Coming up is another minor amendment from Rep. Jeb Steward, R-Encampment, to make an internal switch in Carbon County.
Steward said he is trying to address the wishes of his constituents in Sinclair, who would be put into House District 15 with the city of Rawlins under the redistricting plan.
The Sinclair residents would rather stay in House District 47.
In exchange, a block around Wamsutter would go into House District 15 with Rawlins.
“It’s an internal swap. It won’t affect any other boundary lines for any other district,” Steward said.