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Congressional redistricting plan wins initial approval from Oklahoma House committee

The Oklahoma House of Representatives Redistricting Committee approved a proposal Thursday that calls for minor changes to the state's five congressional district
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: April 15, 2011

Redrawing the state's congressional districts, which ended up in a legal battle that had to be decided by a judge in 2002, is proving to be an easier task so far this year.

The state House of Representatives Redistricting Committee on Thursday voted 21-0 to accept a plan that would establish Oklahoma's five congressional districts for a 10-year period beginning in January 2013.

The proposal has minor changes to the existing five congressional districts. Unlike 10 years ago, lawmakers this year don't have to wrestle with the loss of a congressional seat

House Bill 1527, which contains the language for drawing the new congressional districts, now goes to the full House.

Legislators every 10 years — after the census figures are released — redraw the congressional districts, along with legislative districts. Lawmakers must complete the congressional redistricting task by the end of next year's session.

The political climate is different than in 2002.

Republicans now control the Legislature, which comes up with the plan, and Gov. Mary Fallin, who must approve the proposal, is a Republican. Four of the five U.S. representatives from Oklahoma are Republicans.

The congressional delegation in 2002 had five Republicans and one Democrat. Oklahoma had a Republican governor and a Democrat-controlled Legislature.

Few changes planned

Few changes are proposed in the new districts:

• The 3rd Congressional District gained a small area of Canadian County that is now in the 4th Congressional District, as well as a small portion of Creek County that is now in the 2nd Congressional District.

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