MINUTES OF THE
REDISTRICTING PUBLIC HEARING
Wednesday, June 28, 2001 - 6:00 p.m. - SUU Sharwan Smith Student Center
Sen. Michael G. Waddoups, Chair
Rep. Gerry A. Adair, Chair
Sen. John L. Valentine
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
Rep. Glenn L. Way
Sen. Ron Allen
Sen. Beverly Evans
Sen. Pete Suazo
Rep. Patrice M. Arent
Rep. Ron Bigelow
Rep. Wayne A. Harper
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 6:10 p.m.
2. Introduction to Redistricting
Mr. Jerry Howe, Research Analyst, Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel, presented an overview on the redistricting process. He discussed the history of redistricting, the 2000 census results, and population shifts in Utah. He indicated that Utah has grown steadily since 1970 and stated that western states are growing faster than any other area in the nation. Committee discussion followed.
3. Public Input/Comments
Mr. Dennis Stowell, Iron County Commissioner, stated that they are faced with splitting Iron and Washington Counties. He said that they could live with cutting the northern or eastern part of the county and that the only other alternative is splitting Cedar City.
Rep. Hatch said that as the chair of the South-East Utah Redistricting Subcommittee, a plan is being developed for rural Utah and indicated that he would like to meet with those who are interested to receive their input.
Ms. Lois Bullock, Iron County Commissioner, said that she felt strongly that the committee will do what is right, but indicated she would like to see the final proposal before commenting on it. She said the committee should do as much as possible to keep the county intact.
Rep. Pace asked how Commissioner Bullock would divide the southern part of the county. Commissioner Bullock stated that she would prefer the county not be divided. The committee indicated that because of the growth in population, it is inevitable that the county will be split up in some way.
Commissioner Stowell indicated that Parowan has a lot in common with Beaver County and Panguitch and stated that it would be better to split the northern part of Iron County than to divide the southern counties.
Mr. Harold Shirley, Mayor of Cedar City, suggested that the committee consider putting 15,000 people with Iron County to make 34,000, which would even out the population. He requested that the committee keep the logical division of Beaver, Iron, Washington, Kane, and Garfield Counties together as they have already formed a working relationship. He also indicated that Millard County would have to be brought in to make the numbers equal, which would cause Sen. Blackham's district to be shifted. He suggested that they move some of southern Utah County into Sen. Blackham's District, then Sen. Dmitrich could take all of Carbon County, which would then give Sen. Evans Summit County.
Mayor Shirley also expressed his concern with regard to Cedar City and St. George. He stated that one senator cannot represent two colleges and make both of them happy. He stated that they would like to have a separate senator that represented each area, rather than having one that would please various areas. He concluded that their concern lies in being with those that are in close proximity to them because of their communities of interest.
Mr. Mervin W. Adair, Chairman, Iron County Republican Party, presented a proposal and indicated how the northern part of the southern counties could come together.
Mr. Keith Seegmiller, Secretary, Iron County Republican Party, read the proposal and requested that Washington County be used as one of the starting points for determining district boundaries and that the boundaries of adjacent districts be determined by moving north and east from that center. He further stated that the population centers are on the western side of Kane, Garfield, and Wayne Counties and that they should remain with the southwest districts, rather than being tacked onto the eastern districts where there is limited access to the area. He concluded that they strongly agree with the principle of keeping the districts as compact as possible.
Mr. John Bunkall, Southern Utah University student, stated that there should not be one whole congressional seat in Salt Lake City and that the committee should at least divide the county into two, if not three districts for more representation in Congress.
Sen. Valentine stated that political parties are irrelevant to the committee and that the committee will use the constitutionally permitted redistricting principles. He concluded that who gets elected does not concern this committee.
Sen. Waddoups stated that the committee is working as servants of the citizens in Utah and that their community of interest is the state of Utah.
Chair Adair reiterated that the committee wants to bend over backwards to be fair and stated that they have specifically not put the residences of the current incumbents in the House or the Senate on the state computers because they want to make the process non-partisan.
Mr. Edward T. Begay, Speaker of the Council, Navajo Nation, stated that the Navajo residents are concerned about their community of interest in San Juan County and requested that they be adequately represented in the state legislature. He suggested that the committee consider traveling to Blanding to hear what the citizens have to say there.
Mr. Derrick Watchman, Office of the President, Navajo Nation, stated that the Navajo Nation is a community of interest. He said that the reservation is a natural boundary and requested that the committee keep the Navajo people in mind.
Sen. Valentine stated that it is highly probable that San Juan County, which includes the Navajo Nation, will not be divided.
Commissioner Bullock thanked the committee for coming to Cedar City to discuss the redistricting process and receive input. She felt confident in leaving the redistricting process in the committee's hands and that committee decisions will be fair.
Rep. David Clark, House District 74, stated that it is an honor to be trusted with the responsibility of redistricting and thanked the committee for coming to Cedar City to receive input from the public. He indicated that his district is the second largest House district in the state with over 21,000 people in excess. He asked the committee to consider Washington County and the growth it will have in the future by giving them an opportunity to have a sizable portion of their own district by the 1-15 corridor to the city.
Rep. Demar Bowman, House District 72, stated that the logical thing to do for his district would be to put Paragonah, Parowan, Summit, and Brian Head in the adjacent district. He stated that he would support anything the committee comes up with for the Senate districts.
Mr. Steve Platt, former Iron County Republican Chairman, stated that he feels they are in good hands with the committee that has been selected to reapportion their districts. He indicated that Iron County is pleased with the national congressional House district as is and supports the Iron County Republican recommendation on the Senate districts. He stated that the one thing the committee could do better would be to have one senator per county.
MOTION: Rep. Biskupski moved to adjourn the public hearing. The motion passed unanimously. Chair Adair adjourned the meeting at 8:05 p.m.