2021 Iowa Legislative Redistricting

October 6, 2021

The Iowa legislature returned to the Iowa Capitol on October 5th to consider the proposed redistricting maps drafted by the Legislative Services Agency. The Iowa Senate took up Senate File 620 after the State Government Committee voted the bill out of committee without recommendation. Following the floor debate, the Senate voted 32-18 to reject the proposed maps. Republicans voted unanimously to oppose the maps, while Democrats voted unanimously to approve the maps.  

Senate State Government Committee Chair, Senator Roby Smith, floor managed the bill. During his closing comments, he argued, "There are clear indications that plan one can be improved by a second iteration addressing compactness and population deviation."
Democrat Senators Pam Jochum and Tony Bisignano spoke in favor of the proposed maps arguing they met Iowa's legal requirements.

"The maps before us satisfy the Iowa law and the Iowa Constitution," said Sen. Pam Jochum. "To those Republicans in this room who may have some concerns: This map is fair. It's independent. It does not give an advantage of one party over the other. It does not. Nor should it."

The Senate passed a resolution outlining the concerns to be delivered to the Legislative Services Agency. When they begin drafting the second set of maps, those concerns are to be considered but cannot include political considerations such as impacted incumbents.  

LSA has up to 35 days to develop a second proposal. The legislature is only allowed to approve or reject the second proposal. If rejected, LSA will draft a third proposal that legislators will have the opportunity to amend. The Iowa Supreme Court has given the legislature until December 1st to finish the redistricting process.

The House did not get a chance to consider the first proposed maps; following the Senate's vote, Speake Pat Grassley released the following statement.

"As I have stated previously, I believe these maps to be fair maps for Iowa," he said in the statement. "However, I don't believe the Senate's concerns with compactness and population deviation are unwarranted. I am hopeful that LSA will produce a map that improves upon the Senate's concerns and meets all of the other criteria for a fair map outlined in Iowa Code."