ANDERSON — Indiana lawmakers don’t have the political will to change how the maps for legislative districts at the state and federal level are drawn, State Sen. Tim Lanane said.
Lanane, D-Anderson, said the only way the process of redrawing district lines will change in Indiana is through the court system.
His comments were made Monday during a Legislative Review sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Madison County.
“I’m disappointed we can’t move that issue very far along,” Lanane said. “The problem is we draw our own lines.”
Lanane said the Republican Party, with super majorities in both the Indiana House and Senate, controls how the lines are drawn.
“Other states have formed commissions in which the districts are drawn by people other than the politicians,” he said.
Lanane said the district lines should be developed based on population and communities of interest and not divide cities and towns whenever possible.
He introduced legislation that would have established a commission. A similar bill written by a Republican in the House failed to get a hearing.
“There was a Senate bill that would have set standards that was passed,” Lanane said. “It was a step forward.”
The legislation failed to get a hearing in the House.
“The first thing looked at when drawing the lines is the latest election results,” Lanane explained. “We need to use political data to make the districts more competitive.
“In Indiana, the district lines and the General Assembly are lopsided,” he said. “Hillary Clinton got 40 percent of the vote, but the Democrats in the Senate represent only 20 percent of the voters and in the House it’s 31 percent.”
Lanane said he expects the use of CBD oil (cannabidiol) in concentrations of less than .3 percent of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) to be approved by the Legislature.
“This is not medical marijuana,” he said. “This is a health product. It should be available if it helps people. This is one of the successes of the session.”
Lanane said CBD oil has been found to help some children with seizure disorders.
He said manufacturers would be required to certify that the oil contains less than .3 percent THC.
Lanane said lawmakers are considering a summer study committee to look at alternatives to opioids for controlling pain.
“We need to look at non-addictive ways to treat chronic pain,” he said.
Concerning voting laws, Lanane said legislation to allow no-excuse absentee voting, extending voting hours and same-day voter registration will not be approved this legislative session.