Legislative redistricting affects Bingham County
BLACKFOOT – The Legislative Redistricting committee has completed its work.
To keep the population of the Shoshone-Bannock tribe together, that group was moved into Legislative District 28 with the eastern side of Bannock County and all of Oneida County.
The city of Pocatello and the area around it are now designated at Legislative District 29.
With the loss of population from the reservation, most of Bingham County has been joined by Butte County.
For the past 10 years, Butte County was part of a legislative district made up of Butte, Jefferson, Clark, Lemhi and Custer counties.
“I’m comfortable with Bingham County,” said Butte County commissioner Seth Beal. “We have a lot of things in common, such as demographics, agriculture and energy.
“Butte County is made up of 89 percent public lands. That’s similar to Custer County that has 94 percent public lands and Lemhi that has 89 percent public land,” he said.
“With Bingham County, it is more concentrated and a smaller area,” Beal said.Regarding redistricting, Idaho State Senator Steven Bair said, “It saddens me that we lost the reservation because they are part of Bingham County, too.“In north Idaho, it is important to keep the reservation in one district,” Bair said.“We have good relations with Butte County,” he said. “My folks live in Butte County and my daughter lives in Arco.
“Having Aberdeen and Springfield in the same district is a huge plus,” Bair said. “I think the redistricting committee worked to keep the community of interests together.”
“While the Tribes would have liked to see the entire Fort Hall Reservation part of one legislative district, we recognize the challenges faced by the redistricting commission in making that happen,” said Laverne Beech, public affairs manager for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. “Going from three districts to two districts on the reservation is an acknowledgement, at least, that the reservation is an important cultural community of interest as outlined in the federal Voting Rights Act and Idaho Code.”
The Bingham and Bannock county part of the reservation that was part of former District 28 is where 4,066 Native Americans live. The Power County part of the reservation of former District 29 is where 446 Native Americans live.