The chair of the Indiana Senate Elections Committee calls a bill he authored that has moved on to the full Senate a necessary "baby step" in adjusting how redistricting is accomplished throughout the state. State Senator Greg Walker (R-41) says Senate Bill 326, which concerns Congressional and state legislative districts, establishes criteria for future standards by which maps will be drawn.

"Without this foundation, we have no where to begin," Walker said in the Senate Chamber Monday. "We need to establish criteria that are transparent, that anyone in the room with a modest amount of computer experience and data collection (experience) can reproduce the analysis that's been done in the federal courts and make that decision for themselves as to whether or not Indiana has political bias baked into the political maps." He says the standards created by the legislation would help serve as a basis for changing the state's district configurations should they be challenged in court, which is occurring in multiple instances throughout the country right now -- including places like Wisconsin and North Carolina.

It includes provisions to keep districts "as compact as possible to the extent practicable." SB 326 also calls for district territory to be contiguous and to create districts that minimize dividing a county into more than one district.

The committee approved the bill by an 8-0 vote.