Native American leaders fighting Senate redistricting map proposal

Politics - Government

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The battle continues over New Mexico’s redistricting maps. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the new map proposed by Senate President Pro Tem, Mimi Stewart, 7-2 on Sunday. The decision caused Native American leaders to walk out.

The new map was made in collaboration with Republican lawmakers to make sure incumbents wouldn’t run against one another. “In the Senate, we try very hard to collaborate and work as an entire body, not just one party,” Stewart said. 

However, it also made changes that Native American leaders say undermined their wishes. They say the new map violates the consensus that all tribes in New Mexico agreed upon over the last eight months. “We demand that the state legislature respect the rights of Native American votes and that includes the right of the sovereign nations to exercise self-determination by developing maps during this redistricting process,” said Attorney Preston Sanchez with ACLU of New Mexico.

Stewart says her proposed map does still include much of the tribal consensus map. But critics say it’s clearly a way to protect incumbents across party lines.

Senators did not meet on the floor for debate on Monday, however, lawmakers say they are still working saying they spent the day talking with tribal leaders working toward a compromise. No word on what that could look like just yet.

Both the Senate and the House have approved a redrawn map for New Mexico’s three congressional districts which is expected to reach the governor’s desk soon.

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