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House blocks move to pull NM redistricting out of committee

House members speak on the chamber floor in this Jan. 28 file photo. (Eddie Moore/Journal)

SANTA FE — The state House rejected a motion Thursday to pull an independent redistricting bill out of committee and place it on the calendar for the full chamber to consider.

Rep. Rebecca Dow, R-Truth or Consequences, made the motion, contending the measure was set to be blocked by the House Judiciary Committee before it could reach the full House — even though 33 members of the 70-person House have signed on as co-sponsors.

The proposal, House Bill 211, is one of two redistricting bills working their way through the Legislature.

The House legislation would establish an independent redistricting commission that would propose maps for congressional and legislative districts. The Legislature would then pick one of the maps without amendment, a process supporters say would limit political influence.

A competing version, Senate Bill 15, would start with an independent commission but allow lawmakers to change the maps they receive from the group. Supporters say it isn’t legal to prohibit lawmakers from making changes, unless the Constitution is amended.

Both bills are set for consideration in the House Judiciary Committee on Friday.

Dow said the House bill deserves to be heard by the full chamber. Opponents of her motion said the House should respect the committee process and noted that the bill had twice been scheduled for a hearing earlier but delayed at Dow’s request.

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