Redistricting Special Session Still At Stalemate


       Nebraska lawmakers are still at a stalemate over how to draw new congressional and legislative maps despite a looming deadline for the current special session that could postpone the decision until next year and delay the May 10 primary election. 

      Speaker of the Legislature Mike Hilgers has promised to end the session Saturday unless both measures advance to at least the second round of debate.

      If they don’t, he won’t resume debate until the regular session in January – which would force state officials to reschedule the primary.

       Hilgers, a registered Republican in the officially nonpartisan Unicameral, insisted Wed morning that he was getting closer to a deal, but declined to disclose any details.

       He explained it this way – “I’ve got a couple key ingredients but the cake’s not baked yet; I just hope it’s something edible..”

       Lawmakers conferred informally Wed to try to set the stage for a compromise, but they did it behind closed doors. Redistricting Committee Vice Chair Senator Justin Wayne, an Omaha Democrat, said late in the afternoon they were making progress.

    . At issue with the maps are accusations that both Republicans and Democrats are trying to draw political boundaries in ways that benefit their party.

     So far, the main sticking points have been on redrawing Omaha’s closely-divided 2nd Congressional District, which needs to cut about 50,000 voters to match the other 2 districts, and how to redraw legislative district to reflect a shrinking rural population – especially in the West – and a growing population in urban areas – primarily in the East.