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Lawmakers pass new legislative district maps

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After days of wrangling during a special session, state lawmakers have passed new legislative boundaries.

The updates are required to follow the 2020 census.

Last-minute changes to a compromise map came up short. Some Rapid City House Republicans are upset by the new boundaries for a district that covers neighborhoods on the north side of Rapid City. Others wanted to see changes to districts in Sioux Falls.

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Rapid City area districts

Republican State Sen. Mary Duvall chaired the redistricting committee. She says the map is the result of a compromise between chambers.

"Legislators put their personal opinions aside and got to work to figure out what we could come up with for a good map for South Dakota," Duvall says. "I know not everybody is happy. But I was told very early that you can't do that in redistricting, you can't make everyone happy."

Duvall says the map sets the state up well for the next decade.

Several House Republicans are displeased with the map.

Republican Rep. Drew Dennert led House efforts on the new political boundaries. He says the overall vote was disappointing.

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Sioux Falls area districts

"While this map had improved in the last day it still, as I said on the floor, was a complete disregard for what the voters and citizens of South Dakota had said while we traveled across the entire state," Dennert says.

Dennert says the map could face a lawsuit — saying the map ignores the 10 percent deviation population size between districts. He says anything over the deviation is considered unconstitutional.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.