An Affront to the Process

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February 16, 2017 3:40 PM

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Yesterday’s meeting of the House Elections Committee was as an affront to the public and the legislative process. Several hundred Hoosiers showed up on a weekday, with 24 hours notice given. They were there to show their support for HB1014, a bill that would create a citizens redistricting commission to take over the responsibility for drawing Congressional and state legislative districts. I am unaware of another bill that has attracted such a large crowd of supporters this year.

After 90 minutes of testimony – all of it in support of HB1014, except for one individual who spoke in support of the status quo, the Chair of the committee, Rep. Milo Smith (R-Columbus) ruled Rep. Ryan Hatfield’s (D-Evansviille) do pass motion out of order and refused to take a vote on the bill.

After the meeting, Rep. Smith told me he wasn’t sure he would take a vote on HB1014 before the deadline next Tuesday and that it probably didn’t have the votes to pass anyway. I told him that wasn’t the point – that the citizens who showed up deserve to know where the members of the House Elections Committee stand on redistricting reform – which the Indiana Bicentennial Project listed as one of Indiana’s most pressing issues.

One of our supporters drove down from Fort Wayne for the hearing and to meet with her state representative Chris Judy, who serves on the committee. She brought her 8 week old son, ironically named Milo – with her.  In her letter to Rep. Smith urging him to give HB1014 a vote she closed with, “in this contentious political era, bringing trust to the democratic process is something people from both sides of the aisle can agree on.”

For little Milo’s sake, I hope that is true.  But my hope is getting weak.

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