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Utah is embarking on a once-in-a-decade process of redrawing political maps. The state Legislature will decide what the districts for Congress, the state school board, House and Senate will look like, with input from the Independent Redistricting Commission.KUER is asking listeners what questions they have about the process.Leave us a message at (801) 609-1163.

Utah’s new Congressional map passes its first hurdle in state House

Photo of capitol.
Brian Albers
The Congressional map passed on a 50-22 vote in Utah’s House of Representatives.

On Tuesday, just one day after a meeting that saw hundreds of public comments against the Legislature’s congressional map, that same map soared through Utah’s House of Representatives in about 15 minutes.

Republican leaders on the committee have prioritized including both rural and urban areas of the state in each Congressional district. It resulted in slicing Salt Lake County into four different districts, where a small piece of the state’s most populous county is paired with large swaths of rural Utah.

A few lawmakers tried to sub in different maps. Rep. Jen Dailey-Provost, D-Salt Lake City, suggested a map that she said would lead to better representation for everyone.

“We pride ourselves in our Legislature for working hard on compromise, for reaching across party lines, for making sure that everybody is offered a voice,” Dailey-Provost said. “I'm distressed that the proposed map does not do that, and that the substitute map does a much better job at giving every person in our state their very best chance to have their voice heard on the national level.”

Lawmakers voted it down.

In the end, the House approved the map authored by Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield — co-chair of the Legislative Redistricting Committee.

“What this map represents is basically one person, one vote,” Ray said. “As we move forward with this, it's important to note that population and data drives what we do, and that drove how we did this map.”

It passed nearly along party lines, with a handful of Republicans joining Democrats in opposing the map.

House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, said he was glad to see members of both parties vote against it, but he was disappointed that they weren’t able to debate the Utah Independent Redistricting Commission’s maps.

“Tonight we saw about 10 minutes of debate to pass a seriously gerrymandered Congressional map out of the House of Representatives that Utahns will have to live with for the next 10 years,” King said.

The Senate could vote on the map as soon as Wednesday morning.

Emily Means is a government and politics reporter at KUER.
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