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Redistricting committee to hold meeting in Roswell

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The independent committee charged with developing plans for redrawing the state’s congressional and legislative districts, as part of the once-a-decade redistricting process, will host a public meeting in Roswell next week.

People are invited to attend the meeting of the New Mexico Citizens Redistricting Committee Wednesday, Aug. 11 at the Instructional Technology Center at 23 W. Mathis St. at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell, according to the committee’s website.

The meeting will last from 3 to 7 p.m. or “until adjourned.”

People can find how to take part in the meeting by phone or via Zoom by visiting the committee’s website at nmredistricting.org.

People who attend in person and are not vaccinated are required to wear masks, while those who are vaccinated are encouraged to wear face coverings.

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The meeting is one of several scheduled to be held by the committee at venues including Albuquerque, Espanola, Las Vegas, Las Cruces and Farmington this month.

The committee’s first meeting was held Monday in Santa Fe and was streamed online. Edward Chavez, former New Mexico Supreme Court justice and chair of the Redistricting Committee, said the meetings provide the public with a chance to provide feedback as they look at reshaping the state’s congressional, state house, state senate and public education commission districts based on federal census data and changes in state population.

“These meetings are about public input,” Chavez said during the meeting.

The seven-member committee was established earlier this year when state lawmakers passed and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law Senate Bill 304 (SB 304).

The New Mexico speaker of the House, House minority floor leader, Senate president pro tempore and Senate minority leader each appointed four of the members, while the state ethics commission appointed the remaining three.

Under the law, the committee must hold meetings throughout the state, including at least two on tribal land, before submitting to the state Legislature by Oct. 30 three maps each for how the state’s congressional, state House, state Senate and public education commission districts will be redrawn to reflect changes in population.

State lawmakers will decide which, if any, of the plans to adopt when they meet at the end of the year for a special legislative session.

Chavez said Monday that before the passage of SB 304, redistricting fell under the purview of the legislature and the governor. He added that recent redistricting efforts led to lengthy court battles and court determinations because state legislators and the governor could not agree. There was also no mechanism for public input.

New Mexico currently has three U.S. House districts, including the 2nd Congressional District which encompasses Chaves County and the lower half of the state.

The redistricting process will also determine how county representation will look in both chambers of the state Legislature. Chaves County is currently part of New Mexico House Districts 54, 58, 59 and 66, as well as Senate Districts 27, 32, 33 and 42.

In all, New Mexico has 70 state House districts and 42 Senate districts.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the address of the Instructional Technology Center.

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