Indiana House and Senate Republicans have announced public hearings on redistricting in locations around the state.
Senate President Pro Tem David Long and House Speaker Brian Bosma sent a letter to the Minority Leaders of each chamber Wednesday informing them of the meetings and inviting them to attend. But Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson said she believes the public meetings are merely partisan efforts.
“My personal opinion is that these caucus town meetings or whatever they’re calling them, public hearings, are a farce and it’s a charade,” Simpson said.
Anderson Democratic Senator Tim Lanane, the ranking member of the Senate Elections Committee, said his party did not have any input on the locations or dates of the meetings. Simpson said the way Republicans have handled things so far shows how the redistricting process might proceed.
“We believe this indicates that the Republicans are interested in maintaining permanent majorities and this will be the most partisan and therefore the most onerous of procedures,” said Simpson.
Long said the public hearings are separate from the normal redistricting process and meant as a way to get input from the public.
“I suppose we didn’t have to invite the Democrats but we thought we should do that. They could have their own public hearings, but we thought it would be better if it was bipartisan,” said Long.
Bosma said House Republicans scheduled their own public hearings ten years ago during the last redistricting process because House Democrats refused to participate. Simpson and Lanane both acknowledged that redistricting in Indiana has typically been a partisan process, but said they’re calling for a bipartisan or nonpartisan commission to redraw the maps.