Major and minor population changes in Boone County’s five Indiana General Assembly districts could mean significant shifts in those district boundaries.

State law requires boundaries for the 100 House Districts and 50 Senate districts be adjusted every 10 years to reflect population changes determined by the U.S. Census.

The party in control of the Indiana House — Republicans this year — draws the boundaries. The 10-person Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission, an independent group co-chaired by former legislators Dave Crooks and Bill Ruppel, is keeping an eye on what House Republicans do.

Boone County is likely to be affected by redistricting because of its lopsided growth While Boone is the fourth-fastest growing county in the state, the county’s western and northern sections have lost population.

Annexations, combined with residential growth within their boundaries, have increased the populations of Lebanon, Whitestown and Zionsville.

Boone’s two senate districts are 21 and 23.

The total population in Senate District 21 grew by nearly 20,000 people, to 141,992, according to the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. Now represented by Kokomo Republican Jim Buck, the district includes rural/urban Zionsville (the former Eagle and Union townships, as well as what was Zionsville proper until Dec. 31, 2009). The district also includes parts of western Hamilton County, including the town of Westfield, but excluding Carmel and the southwestern corner of the county. The district “has more people than it needs to have,” the IBRC said.

At the same time, Senate District 23 “has fewer people than it needs to have,” the research center said.

Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville, holds the seat for the district, which includes all of Boone County except rural/urban Zionsville, all of Fountain and Montgomery counties, and parts of Clinton and Warren counties.

The district added only 2,932 residents over the last decade, an increase of 2.4 percent, said the IBRC.

All three of Boone’s Indiana House seats have higher-than-optimal populations, the center said.

House District 28, a seat now held by Republican Jeff Thompson, includes Advance, Jamestown, Lebanon and Thorntown, along with their adjacent townships, and parts of Eagle township. The population increased by 13.6 percent to 69,565.

District 38, which includes Marion, Worth and Union townships, is represented by Republican Heath VanAtter. The district grew by 10.2 percent over the last decade, with a 2010 population of 66,895.

The most dramatic increase came in District 87, which grew by 31.3 percent, to 80,568 people. Republican Cindy Noe was re-elected to the seat last year.

Statewide, a senate district averages 130,000 people, while a house district has about 65,000.

Statewide, eight Senate districts lost population, with six of them shrinking by five digits; District 33, a near-westside Indianapolis district whose boundaries make approximately 60 90-degree turns, was the leading loser with a drop of 17,011. Senate District 3, which includes Gary, Lake Station and Hobart in Lake County, lost 16,302 people.

The Indiana House of Representatives, which remains without a quorum because Democrats have fled to Illinois in an effort to block bills they dislike, must change Congressional Districts this year, but could wait until next year to change the General Assembly’s boundaries.

CNHI Statehouse reporter Maureen Hayden and The Associated Press Contributed to this report.
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