INDIANAPOLIS — Saying it’s not too late in the current legislative session for bills to pass, a group of about 50 people rallied Tuesday in support of a bill that would reform the way Indiana handles its redistricting process. The Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting organized the rally to push for a House committee hearing on Senate Bill 105, which would establish redistricting standards for congressional and state legislative districts.

Among key provisions, the bill would allow the Indiana General Assembly to consider and adopt modifications to the initial proposed plans that deviate from the redistricting standards as long as the reason or reasons for each deviation are publicly explained and documented.

“It doesn’t deal with the who part of the redistricting reform equation. But it deals with the how piece. How will districts be drawn and that’s an important part of the equation,” Julia Vaughn, policy director for Common Cause Indiana, said.

“This bill would some make important changes to the process. Probably the biggest one is that legislators wouldn’t be allowed to start the process by figuring out where the incumbents live and drawing the districts around them. That’s certainly a good change,” she said.

“We shouldn’t worry about where the incumbent legislators live because the districts don’t belong to them. They belong to the voters who live in the districts,” Vaughn said.

Reform supporters have been seeking a redistricting to be led by a bipartisan committee but that provision is not in the bill. The last week of the legislative session is in late April. Bills are only being heard that have passed through one chamber.

The bill passed the Senate in a narrow 25-23 margin. It has been assigned to the House Committee on Elections and Apportionment, which is chaired by State Rep. Timothy Wesco, R-Osceola. Wesco has not returned calls seeking comment on the fate of the bill.

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