Several years ago a prominent DFL legislator with acknowledged tax expertise retired early, returning almost immediately to the capitol as a registered lobbyist for private interests. Earlier that year, a Republican representative left the MN House and was back within three weeks to lobby former colleagues. Such rapid exit and re-entry, with obvious potential for conflict of interest, is known in political parlance as the revolving door.
Every ten years, after the census, the Minnesota legislature is responsible for drawing new legislative and congressional districts in our state. While redistricting might sound like a ministerial duty, it is anything but. As it stands, drawing new lines produces a partisan political battle as legislators seek to preserve their seats and help their political party dominate the legislature.
Iowa’s redistricting plan (Iowa Code §§ 42.1 – 42.6) was first adopted in 1980 and has been successful in having a proposed plan adopted quickly by the legislature and in avoiding judicial review. The plan has firm deadlines for actions by all participants. The plan is similar to H.F. 246 submitted in 2017 in Minnesota in having an independent commission appointed by the legislative leadership, but it is different in a significant respect.