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North Dakota Senate approves amended redistricting plan

April 5, 2021 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s Senate on Monday unanimously approved its version of a House bill outlining the process for legislative redistricting, agreeing to allow the public better access to draft plans.

The initial bill draft drew opposition for exempting from state open records law a draft of the redistricting plan until unveiled at public meetings.

The amended bill allows the public to review plans that are “distributed or reported.”

The legislation now goes back to the House for its review of changes made by the Senate. Its final details will be negotiated by a House-Senate conference committee, made up of three senators and three House members.

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The bill would establish a committee of lawmakers who would craft an outline for legislative redistricting, which is done every 10 years after a federal census. It aims to ensure that each member of the Legislature represents about the same number of people.

The committee would be controlled by Republicans, who hold two-thirds majorities in the state House and Senate.

The redistricting plan will be written after the legislative session finishes this spring. The panel will host several meetings statewide and finish its work.

The Legislature would finish the redistricting job during a special or reconvened session this fall.