All 101 state House members to help with redistricting

Pawhuska Journal-Capital
Tthe Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Monday, March 16, 2020.

All Oklahoma House legislators will be involved in the chamber’s redistricting process through eight regional subcommittees, House leadership announced Monday.

House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, announced the regional subcommittees will seek citizen input on how House legislative districts should look for the next decade.

The committees that are largely led by Republicans will create regional maps after reviewing public recommendations made through town hall meetings, citizen surveys and online submissions.

The bipartisan House Redistricting Committee, chaired by Rep. Ryan Martinez, R-Edmond, will review the regional maps and create a statewide map during the 2021 legislative session. House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, and Rep. Brad Boles, R-Marlow, will serve as the committee's vice chairs.

The rest of the committee will be appointed after the November election. Oklahoma’s GOP-led Legislature will draw new legislative and congressional districts next year following completion of the U.S. Census.

“Public input from each region of Oklahoma is the foundation of the House’s inclusive, transparent and fully legal process to produce fair representation for all Oklahomans for another decade,” McCall said. “Oklahoma has a more than century-long track record of successful redistricting without any court determinations of improper gerrymandering."

While legislators work to draw new maps, a campaign to take redistricting power away from the Legislature will be trying to qualify a state question for the ballot by 2022. People Not Politicians wants Oklahomans to support creation of an independent redistricting commission made up of non-elected officials from various political persuasions.

The House has not hired someone new to serve as the chamber’s redistricting director. Existing House staff will lead the redistricting process, said a spokesman for McCall.

Senate leadership hired Keith Beall, who was chief of staff to former Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, to be the Senate redistricting director.

Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat has promised an open and transparent redistricting process that includes public hearings across the state and allowing for the public submission of proposed maps. Senate redistricting will be led by the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting, chaired by Sen. Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle.