By Mitchell Walters
The email below was sent to all of the members of the Districting and Apportionment Commissioner to register our extreme displeasure at the Commission’s stated decision to treat some of the MCA criteria for creating legislative districts as discretionary and to come up with their own Commission Goals to create “fair and competitive districts”.
Instead of following MCA TITLE 5. LEGISLATIVE BRANCH, CHAPTER 1. CONGRESSIONAL, SENATORIAL, AND REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICTS, Part 1. Districting and Apportionment Commission, 5-1-115 Redistricting Criteria:
“Section 2 (a) The districts must be as equal as practicable, meaning to the greatest extent possible, within a plus or minus 1% relative deviation from the ideal population…“
We observed the public meetings last week regarding the redistricting of Montana and have read the Mandatory Criteria and Goals for Congressional Districts document that was published by you on or about July 9th. We are alarmed and extremely disappointed by the exclusion of section 5-1-115, 2 (a) in your version of the Redistricting Criteria.
Montanans voted in November and Montana now has a Republican state government trifecta, with a conservative Governor and both chambers with a Republican majority. To which they wrote and passed into law;
5-1-115MCA under Title 5 is the current law in the State of Montana. As private citizens, we must follow the law and as an appointed board, you too must follow the law. We do not understand why the Mandatory Criteria document, developed by this board, does not include all elements of section 5-1-115 of Montana Codes Annotated.
Personally, I have spent years as a public servant in law enforcement, we have other members who professionally worked with Federal and State regulations, others as attorneys. My point is that the elected politicians write the laws that the governed must abide by.
We strongly believe that;
Section 2 (a) The districts must be as equal as practicable, meaning to the greatest extent possible, within a plus or minus 1% relative deviation from the ideal population…
This section must be included in the Mandatory Criteria when developing the redistricting of Montana. The Troy Libby John Birch Society Chapter was able to meet this state law when we provided you Congressional District maps on June 29th. Any deviation beyond the plus or minus 1% would clearly be gerrymandering by this commission for political purposes.
The citizens spoke loud and clear that we want conservative law-abiding Montanans running our state, yet this commission’s intent is to operate outside of Montana State Laws based on your current criteria, which is unacceptable.
“Taxation for non-essential government purposes is theft under color of law, plain and simple.When representatives tax our patience, that is a bridge too far”
Editors Note: The Opinion here was edited to reduce redundancy, clarity and repetition but message of “Extreme Displeasure” is kept in tact.
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