MINUTES OF THE
REDISTRICTING PUBLIC HEARING
Wednesday, June 28, 2001 - 12:00 p.m. - Sevier County Auditorium, Richfield
Sen. Michael G. Waddoups, Chair
Rep. Gerry A. Adair, Chair
Sen. John L. Valentine
Rep. Patrice M. Arent
Rep. Chad E. Bennion
Rep. Jackie Biskupski
Rep. Katherine M. Bryson
Rep. Don E. Bush
Rep. Brent H. Goodfellow
Rep. James R. Gowans
Rep. Thomas V. Hatch
Rep. Loraine T. Pace
Rep. Jack A. Seitz
Rep. LaWanna Shurtliff
Sen. Ron Allen
Sen. Beverly Evans
Sen. Pete Suazo
Rep. Ron Bigelow
Rep. Wayne A. Harper
Rep. Glenn L. Way
Mr. Stewart E. Smith, Redistricting Team Manager
Mr. John L. Fellows, Associate General Counsel
Mr. Mark D. Andrews, Research Analyst
Mr. Jerry D. Howe, Research Analyst
Mr. Richard C. North, Research Analyst
Mr. Mark J Allred, Technical Support
Mr. Joseph T. Wade, Research Analyst
Ms. Alicia Gambles, Legislative Secretary
1. Call to Order - Chair Adair called the public hearing to order at 12:10 p.m.
2. Committee Business - Approval of Minutes
MOTION: Rep. Biskupski moved to approve the minutes of the May 30, 2001 meeting and the June 7, 2001 public hearings in Tooele and Salt Lake City.
AMENDED MOTION: Rep. Bennion moved to amend the May 30 minutes with respect to the discussion on communities of interest with Mr. Patrick Cohen. He would like to listen to the tape and elaborate on Mr. Cohen's comments. The motion passed unanimously.
3. Introduction to Redistricting
Mr. Joseph Wade, Research Analyst, Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel, presented an overview on the redistricting process. He indicated the population shifts in Utah, specifically the southern counties in Utah and stated that Utah is the fourth fastest growing state in the nation. He indicated the need for the districts to be adjusted to equalize their population with the districts in other counties. He indicated that Senate District 28 grew by 26 percent and needs 74 people to meet the total overall deviation for the state. Committee discussion followed.
4. Public Input/Comments
Mr. Mark Fuellenbach, The Richfield Reaper, stated that they would like to have a little rural-flavor in all of the districts. He asked the committee to keep the districts as close to county boundaries as possible for county clerks.
Chair Adair asked him how he would do that. Mr. Fuellenbach stated that he just wanted some good representation for rural Utah.
Rep. Biskupski asked why Mr. Fuellenbach would like to keep Richfield together, but had no issue with dividing Salt Lake County. Mr. Fuellenbach stated that from an economic standpoint, the rural districts should be kept together.
Mr. Jim Olsen, Gunnison resident, stated that Richfield would like to follow county and city lines. He stated that they realize they will loose some representation because Salt Lake City has grown so much, but indicated that rural Utah is much different than urban Utah and would like different representation for these areas. Mr. Olsen also stated that he liked the idea of following Highway 89 corridor as a natural geographic boundary for the Senate.
Mr. Mike Peterson, Utah Rural Electric Association, inquired about the factors that lock Utah into 75 districts. Chair Adair stated that the rules have already been established by the committee. Mr. Peterson asked if Chair Adair could elaborate on why there are only 75 House districts. Chair Adair stated that there is not room at the capitol to accommodate more representatives, but that they are planning to renovate the capitol, which would aid in adding seats. He also stated that tradition has been a factor in keeping the House districts at 75.
Rep. Bennion stated that the fiscal impact of adding more House seats is an important factor.
Rep. Hatch stated that if more House seats were added, representation would be lost. He stated that rural Utah is one big community of interest and that one reason rural Utah has been successful in promoting their agenda is because many representatives, whether they live in rural districts or not, have rural roots which helps them to understand those areas and their needs.
Sen. Waddoups asked what Richfield's community of interest is. He asked the audience to explain how they would like the lines to be drawn and which counties could be considered communities of interest.
Mr. Harold Jensen, Gunnison County resident, stated that there is not much in common with Sevier and Millard County except for the Sevier River which has been the cause of many problems. He indicated that in the six county association, Sevier County should be included with the eastern counties where they have much more in common with each other because they are rural.
Mr. Matthew Creamer, Richfield resident, encouraged the committee to consider the natural geographical boundaries that bring counties together. He indicated that Sevier County does not have much affinity with Millard and Juab County. He expressed his concern with the "spoke approach" and the potential of having all four congressman come from a very small geographical area. He stated that this concept would not be beneficial to Utah.
Rep. Arent asked if they would like to see one rural-only district. Mr. Creamer stated that he would be in favor of a rural-only district which includes St. George.
Chair Adair asked everyone to remember that no matter which county you are from, we are all Utahns and we all have that interest in common.
Mr. Mark Anderson, Sanpete County resident, asked the committee to consider expanding the legislature, so that the state could have more representation. He indicated that it would be more beneficial to have more representatives in the Utah House of Representatives than a fourth congressman in Washington. He also stated that rural Utah feels that they do not have a voice in the legislature. Mr. Anderson reiterated that when building a new school, a drag-on classroom is initially added. He asked if it would be in the best interest of the state to remodel in a way that would allow for an expansion for when the population shifts in the future. He stated that preparing for this renovation would be less costly in the long run.
Rep. Bush rejected the idea of increasing the legislature to help the state of Utah. He indicated that bigger is not always better. He disagreed with Mr. Anderson and indicated that there is plenty of representation for all districts and that each representative represents the whole state, not just their district or area. He concluded that adding more representatives in the House would confuse the issue.
Ms. Sandy Phillips, Monroe resident, stated that dividing a county would also divide schools. She said there are enough divisions already and that she would like to see Sevier County stay together. She also agreed with considering the natural geographical boundaries.
Chair Adair said that it is important to understand that the committee has tried to be fair, equitable, and moral in the process. He indicated that redistricting is one of the most important things elected representatives will do because it will effect everyone for the next ten years.
Rep. Hatch commended the public for taking an active part in the process and encouraged them to contact him or any member of the committee with any specific concerns and proposals to have more input in the process.
Mr. Shawn Fuellenbach, Sevier County Treasurer, expressed the concern of the county clerks in the area to follow county and natural geographic boundaries as much as possible.
MOTION: Sen. Valentine moved to adjourn the public hearing. The motion passed unanimously. Chair Adair adjourned the meeting at 1:35 p.m.