OKLAHOMA CITY – Little change would occur to Oklahoma's current congressional districts and recently-passed new legislative districts under the state's proposed redistricting maps released Monday.
Based on feedback received through the state's historic public input process, Oklahoma would continue to have two majority urban congressional districts and three majority rural congressional districts. New state legislative district maps initially passed in May change just slightly in the proposals released Monday.
Highlights of the proposals include:
"Oklahomans produced a strong redistricting proposal that maintains appropriate urban and rural representation while protecting multibillion dollar investments in Oklahoma's military installations and surrounding communities," said Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, and House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, in a joint statement. "This plan should serve Oklahoma exceptionally well for the next decade. We look forward to giving it full consideration in the coming weeks."
The proposals will be voted on in a legislative special session beginning Nov. 15. Like any legislative bill, the proposals will receive committee and floor votes. They must pass both legislative chambers and be signed by the governor to become law.
Redistricting plans submitted by the public and used to formulate the plan the Legislature will consider can be viewed here.
Public comments can be viewed here.
To produce the proposals, final decennial U.S. Census data and extensive public town hall input – including map submissions – was considered by redistricting committees in each legislative chamber. The committees were led by Rep. Ryan Martinez, R-Edmond, in the House, and Sen. Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle, in the Senate, and assisted by each chamber's redistricting staff.
"Oklahoma ran a clean, nonpartisan, public-focused process," Martinez said. "On behalf of the House, my thanks go to all those who engaged and worked on these districts – especially the citizens. I believe Oklahoma should be extremely proud of both the process and the proposal."
The Oklahoma Constitution requires legislative and congressional districts to be redrawn by the Legislature every ten years.
"Our commitment from the beginning was to conduct an open and transparent redistricting process, and we kept that commitment," Paxton said. "I am proud of the work of my colleagues in the Legislature throughout redistricting, the fine work of our redistricting staff, and the public’s participation and engagement."
To gather public input on redistricting, Oklahoma held 30 public town halls – the most in state history. Final U.S. Census data released in September found Oklahoma's population grew by 5.5% to 3.96 million, with the greatest percentage of growth in urban areas.
To evenly divide the state's population, proposed CDs 1, 2 and 3 have populations of 791,871 each, and proposed CDs 4 and 5 have populations of 791,870 each.
In the Oklahoma City area, the proposed CD-5 continues to receive the majority of its population from within the Oklahoma City city limits, while adding fast-growing suburban communities in Canadian, Logan and Lincoln counties that, based on public input, commuter and economic patterns, are considered key parts of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.
In the Tulsa area, CD-1 would become more compact by shedding Washington County and half of Wagoner County while adding Sapulpa in Creek County.
"Oklahoma City will continue to have one majority congressional district with CD-5 and representation in two others, as it has for decades. This is appropriate given the Oklahoma City metro area's status as Oklahoma's fastest-growing area, the public input received from many metro area communities, and statewide military base needs," Martinez said. "The Tulsa metro is also growing, and the more compact CD-1 appropriately reflects that growth and public input from the citizens there."
The rural areas of the state would continue to be divided into three districts largely similar to the current compositions of CDs 2, 3 and 4.
Based on its population in the 2020 U.S. Census, Oklahoma maintains its five congressional seats.
New legislative districts that received bipartisan, statewide support in May are largely retained in the proposal while accounting for Oklahoma's greater than anticipated urban area growth in final U.S. Census data delivered to states in September.
Compared to the plan passed in May, the House proposal generally shifts western districts somewhat further toward the Oklahoma City area, and eastern districts somewhat further toward the Tulsa area. It is more compact than the prior plan, with each of the 101 House districts having a target population of 39,202, and keeps 80% of Oklahomans in the same House district they are in today.
"While changes had to be made to most House districts to meet population requirements, those changes were minor," Martinez said. "Given the bipartisan, statewide popularity of the prior plan, this plan is also expected to be well-received in the House."
The Senate map also experienced minor changes under final Census data. Each of the 48 Senate districts has a target population of 82,487.
"Overall, the proposed Senate maps are very similar to the maps that were approved nearly unanimously in May. Changes to the proposed Senate maps were minimal, and yet the map remains more compact than the existing maps," Paxton said.