Wyoming Debates Reducing The Number Of State Legislators
Do some counties in Wyoming have too much say in the Wyoming political process, and others almost none at all?
The Wyoming Republican Party recently discussed a reduce the political power of Wyoming’s two most populated counties, Natrona and Laramie. Over the weekend I had a chance to speak with Wyoming State Senator Ogden Driskill about this discussion.
Imagine reducing the Wyoming Legislature by about 1/3. That means Wyoming would no longer have 60 members in the house, but 46. State senators, currently at 30 would be reduced to 23.
If this were to happen then 46 representatives would be county-specific, the other half distributed based on population regardless of county.
During the discussion, there was worry about taking too much power from the larger populated counties. But would there be problems in share representatives across county lines?
Back in 1991 U.S. a District Court ruling, Gorin v. Karpan, set the current standard for today's districting. Would that ruling be a problem?
“That would be a concern, obviously, for Natrona County,” Natrona County GOP Chairman Kevin Taheri said of the reform implications. “We would get a lot less representatives than we have now.” (WyoFile).
Wyoming has not counted 23 senators since the early 20th Century and has had no fewer than 50 House members since 1903. (WyoFile).
State Senator Ogden Driskill seemed to find it interesting that, if the plan was adopted, he was not sure if he would gain supporters or lose them, depending on how the new districts were carved out.
Some counties in Wyoming only have a couple of thousand people in them and it is hard enough as it is to find someone who even wants to run for office to represent their population. Perhaps allowing one person to represent several small counties is the solution.
At the moment we are only at the beginning of this discussion.