Redistricting and the Tippecanoe Way
No beefs over new political lines, this time. Plus, tips for testing, instead of going to the hospital ER.
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If you were looking for political beef, maybe the caliber of the one that drove the Indiana General Assembly’s redistricting effort this fall, amid the mad scramble to draw political lines for Tippecanoe County government seats, well … you came to the wrong place, I guess.
Rushed into production last week due to a delayed 2020 population counts from the U.S. Census and then late-arriving precinct work from the Indiana Election Division, posted over the long Christmas weekend and then approved by three Republican county commissioners Tuesday morning, even the Democrats looking on could only nod.
The maps – adjusting boundaries for three county commissioner seats and four Tippecanoe County Council districts – were the first stages in local redistricting. The Indiana General Assembly redrew district lines for U.S. House, Indiana House and Indiana Senate seats this fall.
The new county districts, in play once a candidate filing period opens Jan. 5 for the May 2022 primaries, had to be done by Dec. 31, according to state law. The boundaries will stay that way for the next 10 years.
“I think they look about right,” Jacque Chosnek, Tippecanoe County Democratic Party chair, said. “I appreciated that (commissioner) Tracy Brown pulled me in as soon as they had some preliminary maps, so we had a chance to give our input. … I think they did a good job.”
Brown also is Tippecanoe County Republican Party chair. He said the maps initially drawn by the Area Plan Commission staff to balance population in each district were sent to county council members elected by districts – two Republicans and two Democrats, at this point – for their takes.
“We were really under the gun on these,” Brown said. “Once I was looking at the proposed maps, I knew it was important to get (Chosnek) to the table, so it was as transparent as we could be, as quick as we had to go. … I guess I value that we live in a community where we can come together like that.”
Ben Murray, a county council member who represents the Lafayette-based District 1, said he appreciated the commissioners asking but that the changes made sense to him.
“What do they call it, the Tippecanoe Way?” Murray said, referring to a phrase used to describe cooperation between the parties in Greater Lafayette. “Seemed like that’s what was going on.”
In the new maps, council seats shift a bit and commissioner districts get turned considerably. (Note: Council members are elected by voters in their districts; commissioners must live in their district but are elected by voters across the entire county.)
County commissioner districts
County council districts
Other local governmental bodies face their own redistricting deadlines. Lafayette City Council and West Lafayette City Council have their next elections in 2023 and have until the end of 2022 to redraw districts. The first date for candidates to file for school board seats open in 2022 doesn’t come until July 27, 2022. Lafayette School Corp. is on the hook to redraw the lines before that. Tippecanoe School Corp. districts are geographically, mainly based on townships, and have been set that way for decades, County Clerk Julie Roush said. West Lafayette school board will have three seats open in 2022, too, but all school board members are elected at-large, meaning they aren’t tied to specific districts.
FOR MORE ON REDISTRICTING
Here’s a look at how the redistricting process shook out for local General Assembly districts.
For the full maps: The files below compare the proposed maps to the current ones and the ones from 2001-2011.
Indiana Senate: Click here for the Senate maps.
Indiana House: Click here for detailed House maps.
Congressional: Click here for more detailed maps.
Stories, reaction and analysis:
FOR A BREAKDOWN OF INDIANA HOUSE DISTRICTS IN TIPPECANOE COUNTY: New Indiana House district maps, familiar complaints: Takeaways for Tippecanoe County
AND THIS …: Democrats and the redistricting blues
AND THIS ONE …: Redistricting scrambles TippCo, Senate districts safer red
HOSPITALS AND COVID TESTS
Stories were floating around everywhere, as people looked to get a COVID test before traveling, for continued holiday get-togethers or they feel symptoms coming on, about how hard it’s been to land a test.
With that in play, the Tippecanoe County Health Department joined with hospitals pleading with people to use community COVID testing sites rather than asking strained Lafayette hospital ERs to do it. From the TCHD Facebook post:
Coming off the Christmas weekend, the COVID case numbers for Tippecanoe County hit 225 in Tuesday’s state report. That one-day total was the most since early January and was a Top 15 single-day number for the county since the pandemic began.
Hospitals in a nine-county Lafayette region reported that they had 5.1% -- or four of 79 – of its intensive care unit beds available, according to Tuesday’s state report. In those ICU beds, 58% were patients with COVID.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Franciscan Health in Lafayette had 50 positive COVID cases – 25 of those in ICU – and IU Health Arnett had 58 cases, including 23 in intensive care. (IU Health Arnett recently doubled it ICU beds from 14 to 28 to deal with the current COVID surge.)
Listen for more on this situation this week – especially with Gov. Eric Holcomb scheduled to give an update on the state’s COVID response at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. You can watch that live at this link.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT …
This went out to subscribers Tuesday afternoon, after a judge sentenced Robert Lee Perkins, Jr., a 35-year-old Lafayette man, to 18 months in prison as part of a four-year sentence for tossing an explosive at the Tippecanoe County Courthouse during a melee May 31, 2020. For the details, including why the judge wasn’t interested in a recommended sentence that didn’t include prison time, here you go …
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