(STATEHOUSE) Jan. 29, 2009 - This session, I am taking a stand for Hoosier citizens and making sure you get the representation in the Statehouse you deserve.
I authored House Joint Resolution 10, an amendment to Indiana's Constitution calling for apportionment of state legislators to be regulated by the number of United States citizens in each district. Currently, legislative districts are based on the number of inhabitants in that district. The combination of citizens and non-citizens included in the term "inhabitants" has led to unfair and distorted representation in the Indiana General Assembly, as well as Congress.
It is extremely vital to make this adjustment to Indiana's Constitution, and ultimately the U.S. Constitution, for accurate and fair representation of citizens.
To better understand how the apportionment processes have gone awry, let me explain how it works: Each legislator represents approximately the same number of people in each district. However, when non-citizens are included in this number, the legislative process is skewed because there are fewer citizens voting in some districts, making the districts unequal in citizen representation.
According to the United States Census, the rate of non-citizens is increasing at an astronomical rate. From 1980 to 2000, the population of non-citizens jumped 166 percent. Unfortunately, this boost in overall population caused Indiana to lose a congressional seat in the 2000 redistricting. The continuance of this unbalanced representation in our state will continue to soften your voice in the legislature if something is not done about the problem now.
It's important to understand that under this bill, non-citizens do not lose any rights; they are simply not accounted for in respect to representation.
The process to change the Indiana Constitution requires a passing vote from two separately elected General Assemblies. If the House and Senate each approve the bill twice, Hoosiers will vote on it in the next general election. The earliest this amendment could take effect is 2012.
I invite you to join with me in recognizing Citizens Count.
I welcome your comments, suggestions, and concerns. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org , call me at the Statehouse at 1-800-382-9841 or write me at the Statehouse, 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204.