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Oklahoma legislative redistricting proposals advance

Suggested new districts reflecting changes in Oklahoma's population in the past 10 years should be available in the next week or so. State lawmakers have to finish the work before the session ends in May.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: April 19, 2011

Republican control

House Republicans have nearly a 70 percent majority, while in the Senate two out of every three members will be Republican. It's the largest number of Republican members ever in both chambers.

House members picked up eight seats in the Nov. 2 election to bring their majority to 70-31. In the Senate, which was taken over by Republicans for the first time in 2008, Republicans picked up six seats to give them a 32-16 majority.

The challenge for House Republicans will be trying to maintain all the seats they picked up in the November election.

In the Senate, three senators are term-limited in 2012: Jonathon Nichols, R-Norman, in Senate District 15; Jim Wilson, D-Tahlequah, in Senate District 3; and Jim Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, in Senate District 43. Reynolds was elected treasurer in Cleveland County. His county term begins July 1.

Senators serve staggered four-year terms, which could be a potential concern in redrawing Senate districts lines. It's possible some residents could be moved from one Senate district to another, especially those in Nichols' and Wilson's districts, and that senator doesn't come up for election until 2014. The last time those residents voted was 2008, meaning they would go six years without getting the chance to vote for a senator.