The Idaho Senate approved increasing the pay for members of the Idaho Redistricting Commission, but the overall cost to the state would decrease. Under a proposal from Senate President Pro Tem Bob Geddes, R-Soda Springs, the six commissioners who will start redrawing legislative districts next June would get $75 a day in wages and expenses, up from $50 in 2001. Commissioners will also be reimbursed for travel, food and lodging.
"It's a cost-of-living issue," Geddes told IdahoReporter.com. Geddes' legislation says that the budget for commissioners' wages and per diem would rise from $17,500 in 2001 to $20,000 in 2011. The overall budget for the commission is expected to be $424,000 next year, down almost 15 percent from the $497,500 spent in 2001. Geddes said that drop would be caused by carrying over some computer software and equipment from the last redistricting effort. He also said next year's commission may be more frugal since it can draw on the experience of the 2001 commission, which was the first citizen commission that redrew legislative and congressional district lines.
The Redistricting Commission will have 90 days to redraw districts after they receive the latest population information from the U.S. Census. The six members on the commission are split between Republicans and Democrats. Each state party will get to pick one commissioner, as will Senate president pro tem and Senate minority leader, and the House speaker and the House minority leader.