Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Play

The pandemic compelled many teachers to integrate new technology into lesson plans, increasing the risks excessive screen time can pose to students; and there's a push in New Mexico to address LGBTQ issues.

Play

The King Day holiday is marked with calls for voting rights reform; U.S. airlines warn of disruptions from 5G mobile phone signals; and a bipartisan trip reaffirms U.S. commitment to Ukraine.

Play

New website profiles missing and murdered Native Americans; more support for young, rural Minnesotans who've traded sex for food, shelter, drugs or alcohol; more communities step up to solve "period poverty;" and find your local gardener - Jan. 29 is National Seed Swap Day.

Backers of Independent Panel Cry Foul Over Utah Redistricting Maps

Play

Monday, November 29, 2021   

SALT LAKE CITY - Backers of Utah's Independent Redistricting Commission are crying foul over the Republican-controlled Legislature's approval of what some observers are calling highly partisan political districts.

Lawmakers, who initially tried to eliminate the voter-approved Independent Commission, eventually compromised on a "hybrid" system, allowing the public panel to submit its maps along with those of the Legislature.

But Katie Wright - executive director of Better Boundaries, the group that organized the 2018 ballot initiative that created the commission - said the GOP majority essentially ignored the bipartisan panel's work.

"It's very much a partisan gerrymander," said Wright. "They not only took in partisanship, but really incumbency protection."

Wright said the maps will result in all four of Utah's Congressional districts having a Republican majority. Gov. Spencer Cox ignored calls from Democrats and others to veto the maps, saying he is satisfied that legislators have met the letter of the law.

The once-a-decade process of redrawing political maps based on the 2020 census essentially locks in those district boundaries for the next 10 years. Wright said she believes the whole thing will likely end up in the courts.

"We are pursuing litigation," said Wright. "Of course that is the confluence of there being a feasible and achievable legal path and national funding support. Although we would love to raise the money for that here in Utah."

The Princeton Gerrymandering Project, a national watchdog group that analyzes redistricting, gave the Utah plan a failing grade, saying legislators used an unethical tool called "cracking" to dilute minority communities political power.

Wright said that despite the outcome, the Independent Commission has proved its ability to provide a bipartisan solution.

"You can draw a map in the light of day, you can give them to community members to respond on and make changes, and you can put politics aside," said Wright. "Unfortunately, the legislators control the process and put themselves first."

Wright says that unless the courts or the U.S. Justice Department intervene, the Legislature's district map will be used in the 2022 midterm and the 2024 general elections.




get more stories like this via email
Experts say blue light inhibits melatonin production and interferes with sleep. (Reewungjunerr/Adobestock)

Health and Wellness

Statistics show thanks to the pandemic, Americans are now glued to their digital devices an average of 13 hours a day, up from 7 or 8 hours a day …


Social Issues

As Democrats in Congress struggle to get enough votes to pass new federal voter protections, Denver's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day "Marade" - a …

Social Issues

Today, the day after the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, comes a chance to put our ideals into action on the sixth annual National Day of Racial …


According to the Pew Research Center, about 7% of parents report their children's screen time has diminished since the pandemic began. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

As many Virginia schools pivot back to temporary virtual learning, some students are spending more time in front of screens. In response, the …

Environment

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting public comments through the end of this month regarding a proposal which would sharply reduce m…

Connecticut's National Estuarine Research Reserve is expected to provide economic benefits too. Long Island Sound is responsible for about $9.4 billion annually in economic impact in the
region, according to a study. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

Connecticut has secured its first National Estuarine Research Reserve along part of the state's Long Island Sound. Conservationists applaud the news …

Social Issues

A ballot initiative in Missouri is seeking to change the way statewide elections are run. Currently, in the Show-Me State, there are party primaries …

Environment

Proposed legislation would end subsidies for wood-burning power plants in Massachusetts by removing biomass as an eligible fuel source for the Commonw…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021