Redistricting Bill Passes Wyoming Legislature with New House and Senate Districts
The bill passed by the Wyoming Legislature, House Bill 100, would solidify the new boundaries across the state, increasing the number of seats in the House to 62 and in the Senate to 31.
Several Senate and House seats were changed due to the new seats, with House Districts 61 near Cheyenne, House District 62, and Senate District 31.
Over the course of the budget session, the Wyoming House and Senate debated back and forth about how the new lines should be drawn, with a total of 11 amendments from the House and 18 in the Senate.
The final vote, after a conference committee met to iron out the details, ended up with 44-12 in the House, with four excused, and 17-12 in the Senate, with one, excused.
As required by federal law, there is supposed to be only a 5% difference in population between districts, however, the map approved by the legislature includes four districts that are above 6%.
During the final debate over the bill in the Senate, Senator Tom James said that he didn't want to vote for the bill due to it being outside of the 5% deviation and for keeping Representative Dan Zwonitzer in his district.
"We sent a good plan over, we had a good plan, and we are told this is the way to get within deviation and are not," James said. "Also too, still allows the representative from district 43 to cut himself back into district 43 when he was not in there. So I can't vote for a bill that helps someone commit a crime, thank you."
Zwonitzer said, before voting for the bill, that some legislators will have their district changed by 70 to 75%, requiring them to campaign for different votes.
Speaking against the final plan in the House, Representative Landon Brown said he dislikes how much time the legislature spent on other issues instead of redistricting, but he will still vote for it because it's the best they came up with.
"We would have had more time than the last day, and the two hours that we've got left, two and a half hours, but instead we were busy debating guns. We were busy debating abortion. We were busy debating non-issues in this state, instead of our constitutional obligations. I'm disappointed that the way this committee worked itself out, I'm disappointed that this is the map given to us at the eleventh hour. I am happy that we came to a compromise because what I heard through a compromise is that everybody walked away from the table pretty upset, which means nobody got everything they wanted. I'm gonna vote aye on this, but I'm gonna plug my nose doing it because this really stinks."