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March 17th, 2011

How Redistricting Works in Iowa

By Craig Robinson

At the end of this month, the first redistricting plan for the state of Iowa will be presented to legislators and made available to the public.  Iowa’s redistricting process is deemed to be one of the fairest and most nonpartisan processes in the country since a non-partisan state agency, the Legislative Services Agency (LSA), is responsible for drafting the three possible redistricting plans.  The LSA develops its plan base on population equality, contiguity, compactness, and respect for political subdivisions (counties, cities, districts, etc.).  Below is process that the legislature will follow in adopting new legislative and congressional districts

First Plan

The LSA releases its proposed redistricting plan to the legislature.  The bill, maps, and summary of the redistricting standards used to develop the plan are made available to the public.

The Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission is then required to schedule and conduct at least three public hearings in different geographic regions of the state.  The five member commission is made up of four members selected by the respective Majority and Minority Floor Leaders of the General Assembly convening in each year ending in zero.  The members are Rose Brown, Lance Ehmcke, Matt Paul, and Eric Turner.  The four members elected Maggie Tinsman as the fifth member and chair of the commission last month.

The House and Senate each vote on the plan.  They can only vote yes or no.  They cannot amend the LSA’s proposal.

If the plan is approved, it goes to Governor Branstad for his approval or veto.  If it fails, the LSA begins work on its second plan.

Second Plan

The LSA releases its proposed redistricting plan to the legislature.  The bill, maps, and summary of the redistricting standards used to develop the plan are made available to the public.

The House and Senate each vote on the plan.  They can only vote yes or no.  They cannot amend the LSA’s proposal.

If the plan is approved, it goes to Governor Branstad for his approval or veto.  If it fails, the LSA begins work on its third plan.

Third Plan

The LSA releases its proposed redistricting plan to the legislature.  The bill, maps, and summary of the redistricting standards used to develop the plan are made available to the public.

The House and Senate each vote on the plan.  They can make amendments to this proposal.

If the plan is approved, it goes to Governor Branstad for his approval or veto.

Fourth Plan

If the legislature and Governor Branstad are unable to agree on one of the first three plans, the Iowa Supreme Court is then given the authority to select a redistricting plan or create their own.

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of TheIowaRepublican.com, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and TheIowaRepublican.com as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, TheIowaRepublcian.com. Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.




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