MINUTES OF THE
REDISTRICTING PUBLIC HEARING
Wednesday, June 7, 2001 - 12:00 p.m. - Tooele County Health Department Auditorium
Sen. Michael G. Waddoups, Chair
Rep. Gerry A. Adair, Chair
Sen. Ron Allen
Sen. Beverly Evans
Sen. Pete Suazo
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. Glenn L. Way
Sen. John L. Valentine
Rep. Ron Bigelow
Rep. Wayne A. Harper
Rep. LaWanna Shurtliff
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
Note: A list of others present and handouts distributed are on file in the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel.
1. Call to Order - Chair Waddoups called the meeting to order at 11:10 a.m.
2. Introduction to Redistricting
Mr. Mark Andrews, Research Analyst, Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel, briefed the public on the redistricting process and specifically population issues in Tooele County. He indicated the significant increase in Utah's population and stated that the districts in Tooele need to be adjusted so that their population is equalized with the districts in the other counties. He also indicated the numbers needed for each district in the House and Senate. Committee discussion followed.
3. Public Input/Comments
Ms. Beverly White, former Utah ex-legislator, stated that Tooele is always put with counties that have nothing in common with them and that are very far away. She indicated that the residents of Tooele County have much in common with Salt Lake County and nothing in common with Juab or Box Elder County. She requested that the committee be fair to Tooele when drawing the lines.
Mr. Mike Taylor, Tooele County Republican Chair, spoke about the state house, senate, and congressional realignments. He indicated that District 21 has been outgrown and stated that it makes sense to take Tooele City away from the rest of the county. The rest of the county has a lot in common with the other counties. Salt Lake County and Western Utah County could be combined with Tooele County, but grouping them with Box Elder County would be a mistake . He indicated that the smaller communities have a lot in common with Tooele County and that the only purpose served by including Tooele County and Salt Lake and West Valley City is to provide a safe seat for the Democrats.
Mr. Gene White, Tooele County Commissioner, said population equalization is the desired goal. He stated that regardless of which party one belongs to, members can be fair. He stated the need for more voice so that there is objectivity in the process. He also stated that Tooele is not entirely rural and that fairness in representation between urban and rural areas is needed.
Sen. Allen asked if Mr. White would like to see Tooele County stay the same. Mr. White indicated that he is looking for representation for Tooele County as an urban area. Rep. Adair asked if there was interest in having two representatives in Tooele County. He stated that he would like to be fair, but that redistricting becomes a political process.
Mr. Jack Howard, Executive Director, Tooele County Chamber of Commerce, stated that it was never understood why so much of Tooele County is in Rep. Anderson's district. He suggested that the committee look at rearranging Tooele County and look elsewhere to fill in the rest of the other districts. He requested that Tooele County be kept the same. Rep. Bush indicated that it is possible to keep the senate districts whole, but not the house districts.
Rep. Hatch stated that rural is a relative term. Brigham City wanted to keep their rural status, but Tooele wants to split up and represent urban and rural people. He stated that having more than one representative has its advantages, because there is more of a voice.
Rep. Pace stated that distance is not the issue, that it only matters if the legislator effectively represents you. She stated that it is not an easy solution and indicated the advantages of having more representatives in one county.
Chair Waddoups stated that the process is extremely difficult. He indicated that there have been residents of Salt Lake County that do not want to be represented by someone from Tooele because their interests are different.
Rep. Pace indicated that her goal in the northern end of the state is not to divide precincts and small towns if they can help it. She stated that staff is very educated on the computers and immediate results are shown. She stated that the committee will do the best they can.
Sen. Allen stated that he supports the contention from the Tooele County Republican Chair that his Senate district be entirely within Tooele County.
Rep. Gowans welcomed input from the public in Tooele and stated that population dictates how the lines should be drawn. He noted that the committee must deal with the population factor and live with the principles they have adopted.
MOTION: Chair Waddoups adjourned the meeting at 1:15 p.m.