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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Special session called for Oregon redistricting plan

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Oregon Governor, Kate Brown, has announced that the state’s legislators will return to the Capitol on September 20 for a special session to adopt new congressional and legislative district boundaries.

The state’s Constitution does not allow the governor to limit a special session, but Brown urged lawmakers Friday to act promptly.

According to The Statesman Journal, the deadline for the Legislature to finish and file state and federal district maps is September 27.

“This special session is an opportunity for legislators to set aside their differences and ensure Oregon voters have their voices heard at the ballot box,” Brown said in a statement.

Last week, Republican and Democratic state lawmakers introduced competing ideas for where the state’s new U.S. House district should be located.

The state of Oregon has four House seats held by Democrats, as well as one long held by a Republican.

The Democrats’ map depicts District 6 as being south of Portland, Oregon’s largest city, and west of I-5. The Republicans also put it south of Portland, although on the other side of the interstate.

Oregon’s status as a blue state is not in question, but expanding the number of seats in the U.S. House from five to six might not be beneficial for Democrats, who dominate the political landscape there.

In exchange for a Republican promise to quit delaying legislation in the state Legislature with delay tactics, Democratic state legislative leaders agreed to cede an edge for the next ten years in redrawing the state’s political districts.

The agreement gives the GOP more say over what the boundaries for 90 legislative districts will look like, as well as how to divide the state into congressional districts.

If the deadline passes without new legislative boundaries being passed by September 27, it will be up to Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, a progressive Democrat, to enforce them. Since 1911, lawmakers have only been able on two occasions to pass a lawful redistricting plan.

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