Oklahoma House redistricting plan moves forward

Oklahoma House of Representatives leaders credit bipartisanship approach for the proposal's support.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: May 10, 2011
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Steele said a consultant was not hired. He said he had confidence in the House members and staff.

DeWitt said the committee reduced the number of split counties from 47 to 41. Each district ideally should have a population of 37,142; the range as drawn is 36,900 to 37,200.

The House released maps of the new districts late last week. A House conference committee on redistricting approved the plan, contained in House Bill 2145, Monday; 23 of 24 members voted for it.

It now goes to a Senate conference committee. It's expected the full House could take up the measure late this week. It then would go to the Senate and to the governor.

More than 50 of Oklahoma's 77 counties grew in the past decade as the state's population grew by about 300,000 to nearly 3.8 million people, according to Census Bureau data released this year.

Biggest changes

The most drastic change is in House District 60 in western Oklahoma. That district was moved to Canadian County.

In addition to the need to pick up urban population growth, the district also was changed significantly because Rep. Purcy Walker, D-Elk City, cannot seek re-election in 2012 because of term limits.

House District 20, held by Rep. Paul Roan, D-Tishomingo, also was noticeably changed, as it moved northward to take in Cleveland County; House District 23, held by Rep. Sue Tibbs, R-Tulsa, also was shifted from Tulsa to the Broken Arrow area. Roan and Tibbs, like Walker, are term limited.

Walker was the only House committee member not to vote for the redistricting plan. Walker said he didn't like to see his district moved and that Elk City would be split into two districts.

The House District 60 he now represents will be placed into four surrounding districts.

“I wanted to maintain a rural district out in rural Oklahoma because they're just chiseling away at the rural voice here at the Capitol by moving these districts into urban areas,” Walker said.

Steele said he is pleased with the redistricting process.

“We've asked each and every member to come and have input into the drawing of this map,” he said.

The plan would establish the House districts for a 10-year period beginning January 2013. Candidates would run for the new districts in next year's elections, and the new districts would be effective when they are sworn into office shortly after the November elections.



View House maps online

To view the proposed new districts for the House of Representatives, go to www.okhouse.gov and click on “Redistricting” on the right side of the website. On the next page, click “Redistricting Bills” on the upper left corner. You can click on any of the maps under “House District Maps.” Available maps are statewide, Canadian County, Cleveland County, Enid, Lawton, Stillwater, Oklahoma County, Tulsa County and urban inserts. Individual House district maps also are available.

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