Sunday, January 23, 2022

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Despite a failed attempt in the U.S. Senate, more than 200 business owners call for federal reforms to strengthen election laws, and the U.S. Supreme Court deals another blow to abortion providers.

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President Biden gets cheers and jeers as he marks his first year in the White House, the Jan. 6 committee wants to hear from Ivanka Trump, and the Supreme Court rejects another challenge to the Texas abortion law.

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Expanded broadband akin to electrification in rural America 80 years ago; small Wyoming grocery store survives monopolization; revitalized Kansas town gets national recognition; and Montana's Native communities look for voter suppression work-arounds.

MN Judges Hear Ideas for Redistricting

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Wednesday, January 5, 2022   

Groups that want specific changes to Minnesota's voting-district maps got a chance to argue their cases Tuesday, including those advocating for BIPOC voters.

A special court panel, tasked with redrawing the boundaries if there's a legislative stalemate, heard a variety of proposals at the hearing. Attorney Brian Dillon represents a coalition that filed a court petition related to redistricting on behalf of communities of color. He said their proposed map avoids the "least change" approach, noting that, based on new census data, Minnesota isn't the same state it was ten years ago.

"We are much more diverse," he said, "and new electoral boundaries should be drawn that best reflect that diversity and give minority populations in Minnesota a greater ability to elect candidates of their choice, who share their experiences, who share their backgrounds, and who will be responsive to their concerns."

Legal teams representing other groups, including those connected to political parties, made their own cases for why their maps were the better choice. The arguments ranged from avoiding partisanship to staying true to the principles adopted by the panel. Courts often have had to take charge of the redistricting process in Minnesota because of legislative gridlock.

Dillon said his group's plan also aligns with the court's principles, but added specific focus on two items concerning communities of color.

"All the parties had to make choices - this is a balancing act, and we agree with that," he said, "but we are transparent about where we focused."

He said that's why, in some districts, they are suggesting major changes, including in the 8th Congressional District. The coalition says for that region, its recommendations do a better job uniting Native American populations. The Legislature has until Feb. 15 to agree on new voting-district maps. Otherwise the court panel will proceed with its maps.


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