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LINCOLN -- State legislative districts in Northeast Nebraska would be slightly modified under a pair of competing redistricting proposals.

The state Legislature launched a special session Monday to redraw boundaries for the state's 3 congressional and 49 legislative districts to reflect population changes between the 2010 and 2020 censuses.

Members of the Legislature's redistricting committee decided Thursday to present Republican and Democratic maps at three public hearings that began Tuesday.

Both plans would alter the borders of legislative District 17, which currently includes Dakota, Thurston and Wayne counties, and District 40, which now  covers Dixon, Cedar, Knox, Holt, Boyd and Rock counties.

District 17 is represented by Sen. Joni Albrecht of Thurston, while District 40 is represented by Sen. Tim Gragert of Creighton. With both maps, Albrecht's and Gragert's homes would remain in their respective districts.

Under the GOP plan, portions of southern and eastern Dixon County, including the city of Wakefield, would shift from District 40 to District 17, while the southeast corner of Thurston, including the Omaha Tribe's reservation, would move from District 17 to District 16, which is represented by Sen. Ben Hansen. 

The Democratic map, meanwhile, would shift the southwest corner of Thurston County, including the city of Pender, to District 16, and move a portion of southern Dixon County into District 17.

Under the Democratic plan, Pierce County, which is now part of District 41, would be transferred to District 40, while Rock County would shift into the sprawling District 43.

The Republican version would expand District 40 by adding the northeast corner of Pierce County, and all of Brown and Keya Paha counties. 

Five Republicans and four Democrats from the officially nonpartisan Legislature sit on the the legislative redistricting. The GOP plan were presented by committee chair Sen. Lu Ann Linehan of Elkhorn, and the Democratic maps were presented by the vice chair, Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha.

The committee introduced eight bills -- LB 1 and LB 3, the Republican versions of proposed new congressional and legislative districts. LB 2 and LB 4 represent the Democratic versions of those districts. The other bills cover the remaining political entities, which include the Public Service Commission, the Supreme Court, the University of Nebraska Board of Regents and the State Board of Education.

Four additional bills were introduced as "shell bills," which could be used to offer alternative redistricting plans. 

The first of three required hearings on the proposed maps were held in Grand Island on Tuesday, with additional meetings to follow in Lincoln on Wednesday and Omaha on Thursday. 

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This article originally ran on siouxcityjournal.com.

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