Anti-gerrymandering compromise garners unanimous support from Utah Senate

This article originally appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune. Read it in its entirety here.

A proposed rewrite of the state’s anti-gerrymandering law glided through the Utah Senate on Tuesday, leaving in the rearview the tense negotiations that forged it.

“Well, senators, this is the bill that was so controversial, you’ll you see the galleries are full,” Sen. Curt Bramble quipped looking at the largely empty public seating area. “And the citizens have come storming the castle.”

The proposal is the product of about 15 months of talks between state lawmakers and the anti-gerrymandering group Better Boundaries. At issue was how to preserve the core of Proposition 4, the 2018 voter initiative on independent redistricting, while also satisfying lawmakers who harbored reservations about the new law’s legality and practicality.

“There are no standards to which the Legislature is now held when they create maps,” said Katie Matheson, spokeswoman for Alliance for a Better Utah, a progressive-leaning government accountability group.

Matheson’s organization was not part of the recent negotiations with state lawmakers, but she said her group appreciates the “tireless efforts” of Better Boundaries to protect Prop 4.

“They did what they needed to do to avoid a full-out repeal,” she said.

This article originally appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune. Read it in its entirety here.

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