S.L. County GOP Works Against Plan for 4th Congressional Seat

S.L. County GOP Works Against Plan for 4th Congressional Seat


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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A committee charged with redrawing Utah's congressional districts won't meet until Monday, but some Republican party leaders are already working on a plan that would halt the proposal to give the state a fourth seat in Congress.

A resolution on the Dec. 2 agenda of the Salt Lake County Party central committee meeting calls for Utah to wait until the 2010 census to push for a fourth seat. That's when population growth should easily justify the additional seat. The state party is also set to consider the resolution at its February 2007 meeting.

State lawmakers are expected to hold a special session Dec. 1 to approve a map to send to Washington, D.C., for action before the new Democrat-controlled Congress takes over in January.

Public hearings across Utah on the proposals are planned for Nov. 27-29.

Leaders of the Legislature's redistricting committee were on Friday tinkering with the four-seat proposal drafted by Gov. Jon Huntsman and House and Senate leadership. The plan would split Salt Lake County in half and give the southern portion to a new district along with parts of rural Utah.

As an alternative, committee leaders are considering dividing the state's most populous county among the four districts.

"These are not set in stone. They're meant to be the starting point for discussion," said Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, co-chairman of the redistricting committee. "We've come up with something that looks fairly benign."

A fourth congressional seat for Utah is part of political compromise in a bill that would also give Washington, D.C. a voting member in the House. It would likely go to a Democrat.

Salt Lake County GOP activist Jeremy Roberts opposes the idea and drafted the party resolution. He says it's unconstitutional to let the District of Columbia have a House seat.

"This latest fiasco is clearly an attempt by the Democrats to get via legislation what they could not get via a constitutional amendment," Roberts says in his resolution.

The party's vote on the resolution will probably come after Utah's Legislature has voted on a four-seat plan.

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Information from The Deseret Morning News www.deseretnews.com

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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