INDIANAPOLIS | The Senate Elections Committee on Thursday approved new boundaries for Indiana's Congressional and state Senate districts, while Democrats in the Republican-controlled House offered their own redistricting plan.
No changes were made to the proposed Northwest Indiana Senate districts, though state Sen. Sue Landske, R-Cedar Lake, the committee chairwoman, said she's considering a request from state Sen. Jim Arnold, D-LaPorte, and state Sen Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, to swap some precincts in LaPorte County.
The committee also left intact the proposed 1st Congressional district currently represented by U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville. His new district would include Lake, Porter and a strip of LaPorte County containing Michigan City.
Newton and Jasper counties, now a part of Visclosky's district, would become a part of the 4th district, currently represented by Republican U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, a Munster native.
"It's kind of like putting a puzzle together sometimes, you just have to adjust here and a little bit there," Landske said.
The committee-approved maps now go to the full Republican-controlled Senate for a final vote next week.
In the House Elections Committee, Democrats presented maps they say do a better job keeping communities of interest together, which they contend will lead to more competitive elections than the maps proposed Monday by House Republicans.
"I don't believe the people in our state are looking for one-party rule -- on either side," said state Rep. Shelli VanDenburgh, D-Crown Point.
State Rep. John Bartlett, D-Indianapolis, said the Democrats' map creates 26 competitive House districts while the GOP map only has 14.
The House Elections Committee will vote Friday morning on which map to send to the full House.
Every 10 years, following the U.S. Census, legislative districts are redrawn to ensure a nearly equal population in each district.