Iowa Republican legislators want to avoid leaving redistricting in the hands of the Iowa Supreme Court, Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver indicated during a March 12 legislative forum in Ankeny. In fact, GOP leaders may follow the state of Ohio’s lead in suing the U.S. Census Bureau to obtain the 2020 population data sooner.
The bureau has said it will send states the numbers they need to conduct redistricting by September 30, more than seven months later than usual. Under Iowa law, the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency (LSA) is to submit plans for new legislative and Congressional districts by April 1. The state constitution calls for the legislature to adopt a map of Iowa House and Senate districts by September 1. If the map hasn’t become law by September 15, authority over redistricting moves to the Iowa Supreme Court, which is to have a new legislative map drawn by December 31.
Whitver told the Ankeny audience he didn’t know how Republicans would approach the problem, adding, “We’re looking at all options, and everything from suing the Census Bureau to make sure that we get that data to any other options on the table.”