They hammered it out.
The three Douglas County senators and the chairman of the Legislature's Redistricting Committee spent more than 12 hours the past two days sitting in front of a computer staring at maps.
They reached a compromise Wednesday morning and over the noon hour the committee adopted preliminary changes to legislative districts across the state -- including the Douglas County changes and changes previously agreed to in Lancaster County and rural Nebraska.
The legislative map was adopted on a 8-0-1 vote of the committee. Omaha Sen. Heath Mello was present not voting.
There was a lot of give and take, especially east of 72nd Street, said Omaha Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh.
And there are pretty drastic changes, Mello said.
"Sen. Langemeier worked wonders over the last few days to try to bridge the gap between the Omaha delegation," Mello said.
With the compromise between the Republican and Democratic committee members, Douglas County districts are held completely within the county borders -- no leaking into Sarpy or Washington counties. And the boundary lines for some are significantly different.
The preliminary map is close to one introduced by Lautenbaugh, who has wanted for at least 10 years for Douglas County's districts -- if the count was right -- to be contained.
Lautenbaugh also had proposed a map that made District 7 a majority minority district with Hispanic voters. He couldn't get that out of committee, he said, but he's not writing it off.
"Whatever we do today won't be the end of the story," he said.
There will be public hearings to allow constituents to have their say. And there likely will be at least some tweaking of the maps after that.
Redistricting Douglas County has been an uphill struggle, he said, and remains as such.
Mello believed the map he proposed more closely followed the principles of the redistricting resolution.
When the hearings are conducted in mid-May on the district boundary changes, people need to weigh in, he said.
Another map was put into the mix Wednesday by Sens. LeRoy Louden of Ellsworth and John Harms of Scottsbluff. That map, which was not adopted, still could be discussed during redistricting debate.
It would move Sen. Ken Schilz' District 47 to Sarpy County, instead of Louden's District 49.
It also would keep Custer County in Sen. Deb Fischer's District 43, rather than joining it with Dawson County in District 36.
The domino effect of the changes in the map would also necessarily affect the compromises in Douglas County.
"This is the one that people out in the 43rd and 49th (districts) want," Louden said.
He and Harms will bring it directly to the Legislature later this month, he said.
Proposed Lincoln legislative districts
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Proposed state legislative districts
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