Idaho redistricting commission has 5 of 6 members

Five of the six appointments are in for a commission that will redraw Idaho’s 35 legislative districts from which voters select the state’s 105 lawmakers for the next 10 years.

The bipartisan Idaho Commission for Reapportionment that also draws the state’s two Congressional districts will ultimately have three Democrats and three Republicans. The commission is answerable only to the courts.

Democrats announced their picks Tuesday.  Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett named Dan Schmidt, a physician from Moscow who has practiced family medicine for more than three decades. House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel named Amber Pence, who works as a special assistant to the Teton County Board of County Commissioners. Idaho Democratic Party Chair Fred Cornforth named Nels Mitchell, a former professor at the University of Idaho College of Law. He unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 2014.

Republicans previously announced their picks, but one picked by House Speaker Scott Bedke had to withdraw because his recent work as a lobbyist disqualified him. A replacement pick is expected. The commission is facing a tight deadline this year because of a delay in getting 2020 census population information. The state expects to get the numbers by mid-August. The commission then has 90 days to approve new district boundaries based on the new census numbers.

Because districts are in part based on population, fast-growing areas could gain a district, while slower-growing areas could see portions of districts merged. That could lead to sitting lawmakers ending up in a newly-formed district. (AP)

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