Senate leaders discuss Senate redistricting process
Mike Seals - July 23, 2020 10:35 am
OKLAHOMA CITY – Senate leaders Thursday announced more details of the process the Oklahoma Senate Select Committee on Redistricting will use as the Senate prepares for redistricting next year upon receipt of data from the 2020 U.S. Census.
The moves will ensure the general public’s role in the upcoming redistricting process in the Senate, said Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City.
“Redistricting will be one of the most important issues considered by the Legislature next year. The Senate has been working on redistricting for months and we are preparing for the culmination of that work by taking steps to ensure the general public’s role in the process. The Senate is committed to an open and transparent process as we conduct our constitutional duty to draw state legislative and congressional districts in Oklahoma using data from the 2020 Census,” Treat said.
Senator Lonnie Paxton, chair of the Redistricting Committee, said the public will have an important role in redistricting and that the Senate redistricting process will include:
- Public hearings at locations across the state with the opportunity for the public to offer comments at the hearings;
- The public submission of proposed maps of state legislative and congressional districts; and
- Public notice given before action taken by the committee.
If needed, Paxton said the Senate redistricting committee would take steps such as providing remote participation to accommodate social distancing necessary due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He said the Senate will also make its resources available to local officials if they so choose to help them draw county commission districts, city council districts, and local school board districts.
“The Senate is committed to transparency in the redistricting process and holding public hearings and accepting maps from the public will help us achieve that goal,” Paxton said.
More details about public hearings and the process for submission of proposed maps by the public will be announced later this year, Paxton said.
Treat emphasized the important role that Census data plays in redistricting.
“Census data from the federal government will be used to draw the new district lines,” Treat said. “The best thing the public can do right now for redistricting is complete the Census.”
To complete the 2020 U.S. Census, visit https://my2020census.gov/.