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-
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-
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
• The 5th Congressional District gained a small area of Oklahoma County that is now in the 4th Congressional District.
• The 2nd Congressional District gained all of Marshall County, which is now in the 4th Congressional District, and a portion of Rogers County that is now in the 1st Congressional District.
U.S. Rep. Dan Boren, the state's only Democratic congressman, who was elected from the 2nd Congressional District, said the redistricting process has been fair and without controversy.
The state's congressional delegation, led by U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, and GOP legislative leaders are working in a bipartisan way, said Boren, D-
“I am extremely excited about the possibility of representing Marshall County in Congress,” Boren said. “I spent quite a bit of my early childhood on Lake Texoma. Also, my grandmother, Oteka, was born in Lebanon, and my late mother, Janna, grew up in Madill. My uncle, Dan Little, currently lives in Marshall County along with several other
The population numbers in four of the five districts are exactly the same. One district has one more person, said state Rep. Dale DeWitt, R-
The 5th Congressional District, which includes Oklahoma City, has 750,271 residents; the other four districts have 750,270.
“The congressional delegation did work on this and all are in agreement with it,” DeWitt said.
While the deadline is not until next year, the state's congressional delegation wanted legislators to get the redistricting legislation passed “because they want to be one of the first states to have theirs done,” he said.