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Nebraska Legislature Reaches Compromise on Redistricting

The Nebraska Legislature passed the first round of redistricting maps for Congressional Districts (LB1), Legislative Districts (LB3), Public Service Districts (LB5), State Supreme Court Districts (LB6), State Board of Education Districts (LB7) and Regent Districts (LB8). All these bills will move to select file and then final reading next week (Sept. 27-30).

The League would like to thank Redistricting Director Sheri St. Clair, the redistricting Action Team and LWVNE members for their activism on redistricting. We would also like to thank the NELEG Redistricting committee, it’s chairs, Senators Linehan and Wayne and Speaker Hilgers for their leadership in reaching a compromise during the special session. 

Per the Unicameral Update Page:

Congressional plan

As introduced by the Redistricting Committee, LB1 would have moved much of northwestern Douglas County, which currently is entirely within the 2nd District, into the 1st District.

The proposal, offered by Elkhorn Sen. Lou Ann Linehan, the committee’s chairperson, would have moved all of Saunders County and Sarpy County into the 2nd District. Roughly the eastern third of Sarpy County currently is in the 1st District.

LB1 stalled during general file debate Sept. 17.

Linehan introduced an amendment, adopted 38-8, that she said would keep Douglas County intact within the 2nd District. She said the proposal also would move Saunders County into the 2nd District and split Sarpy County between the 1st and 2nd districts along a boundary similar to the current one.

Under her proposal, Bellevue would remain in the 1st District, and Papillion and La Vista would move from the 2nd District to the 1st District. Thurston, Burt, Washington, Otoe and part of Polk counties would move from the 1st District to the 3rd.

Omaha Sen. Justin Wayne opposed the amendment, saying he does not “necessarily like and agree with [what] the congressional maps are.” He said some senators have expressed a desire to keep Sarpy County wholly within a single congressional district, something Wayne said could be done.

Senators voted 36-10 to advance LB1 to the second round of debate.

Legislative plan

Among other changes, Linehan’s proposal in LB3 would have combined existing districts 23 and 24 and created a new District 24 in southwestern Sarpy and southeastern Saunders counties to account for a population shift from western to eastern Nebraska.

LB3 also stalled during the first round of debate Sept. 20.

Wayne introduced an amendment on general file that instead would move District 36 from central Nebraska to western and southern Sarpy County, encompassing Gretna and Springfield.

Portions of the current district, which comprises Custer, Dawson and the northern part of Buffalo counties, would become part of districts 41, 43 and 44.

When deciding which district to move, Wayne said, the committee considered concerns about moving District 44 to the east and the further consolidation of legislative districts west of Kearney.

Sen. Matt Williams of Gothenburg, who represents District 36, said he agreed to offer his district as a “solution in this process” in part because it would position the counties he currently represents as “anchor counties” in their new districts.

He said the proposal also would allow lawmakers to complete the redistricting process now rather than take it up in January, which would delay next spring’s primary elections.

“As senators, we are often faced with tough decisions,” Williams said. “I’m making this decision because I believe it is the right decision for the state of Nebraska and my constituents.”

Brainard Sen. Bruce Bostelman opposed the amendment and the bill. He said he and Sen. Robert Clements of Elmwood drafted a plan that would not require moving a legislative district, thereby ensuring “proper representation” for rural Nebraska.

“If that means a senator on the eastern side of the state has … 1,000, 2,000 more people than the senator [in] the western part of the state, so be it,” Bostelman said.

After adopting Wayne’s amendment on a vote of 43-5, lawmakers voted 43-5 to advance LB3 to select file.

Public Hearings on Redistricting Announced

The Nebraska Legislature scheduled three public hearings for new redistricting maps in Grand Island, Lincoln and Omaha. This is your chance to demand fair maps for all. Put these dates on your calendar and plan to attend!

Tuesday, Sept. 14, 1:30 p.m. in Grand Island 

Central Community College, Room 555, Health Science Ed Center, 3134 W. Highway 34, Grand Island

Wednesday, Sept. 15, 9 a.m. in Lincoln

State Capitol Building, 1445 K St., Room 1524, Lincoln

Thursday, Sept. 16, 10 a.m. in Omaha

Scott Conference Center, University of Nebraska-Omaha, 6450 Pine St., Omaha

LWVNE Redistricting Maps

We drew these map with a single goal: to accurately represent the people of Nebraska in a way that makes our representative government meaningful and best positioned to serve all Nebraskans. Over the past six months, our Fair Maps Action Team members have followed the Unicameral’s redistricting discussions, studied the 2020 Nebraska Census data, reviewed the Nebraska Legislature’s redistricting guidance, and culled our own members’ input and concerns regarding Nebraska’s Congressional map. When drafting these maps, we used several data sources to inform where and how we grouped individuals and drew lines. These included the Census demographic data, Nebraska Natural Resource District BoundariesAcres of Farmland by CountyPublic School District Boundaries and analysis from the UNO Center for Public Affairs Research. Finally, Dr. Steve Dunbar, professor emeritus of mathematics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, analyzed the map to ensure it met the standards of population deviation, contiguity and compactness — the gold standard for Fair Maps.

Congressional link: https://davesredistricting.org/join/5a60784a-4c28-4595-90d9-6f97a5b702aa

Legislative link: https://davesredistricting.org/join/5a3a900f-82c5-48f9-9e53-625741fe1c9c

Congressional Map

Legislative Map

Greater Omaha Legislative Map

Lincoln Area Legislative Map

Redistricting in Nebraska 101

Redistricting takes place every 10 years. Find out how and why by watching this video. Get involved in redistricting today!

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