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Special legislative session on redistricting set for Oct. 3

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 31 2011 5:31 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert announced Wednesday that he's calling lawmakers into special session on Oct. 3 to approve new boundaries for the state's legislative, congressional and school board districts.

The Legislature's Redistricting Committee has set three meetings in September to wrap up their work, based on population changes identified in the 2010 Census that gave Utah a new, fourth seat in Congress.

The committee started its work in the spring and has already held public hearings throughout the state. But so far, the committee has approved only a proposed plan for redrawing the state school board district boundaries.  

Still being decided is exactly how many Democrats — and possibly, Republcians — will lose legislative seats due to population shifts. Also, there's still debate over whether the state's now four congressional districts should all include rural areas of the state.

The process has been criticized by advocates of an independent redistricting process and by Utah's sole Democratic member of Congress, Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah. Matheson said Tuesday he believes he's being targeted by lawmakers.

Herbert has veto power over the plans ultimately approved by lawmakers in special session, but has said he'll support their actions unless "they did something really stupid. But I don't think they will."

Lisa Riley Roche Twitter: dnewspolitics

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