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So far, redistricting of the state’s legislative and U.S. congressional district boundaries has yet to create much of a buzz, but that might change in the near future.

The four members of the Washington Redistricting Commission — a bipartisan group — have released their proposed state legislative district maps (congressional district maps due on Sept. 28).

In this state, the Redistricting Commission plays the prominent role in drawing new maps. The bipartisan nature (two Republicans and two Democrats) is supposed to guard against gerrymandering seen and allowed in other states.

At the end of the process, the commission votes on a redistricting plan, which must be approved by three of the four commission members to pass. If the Legislature wants to change the plan, the new lines can affect no more than 2% of a district’s population and must be approved by two-thirds of the members of both legislative chambers. The plan becomes final within 30 days after the beginning of the next regular or special legislative session.

Bottom line, the word of the Commission is not necessarily gospel, but it might as well be.

That should just heighten the interest in the maps released this week. While it is unlikely any of these maps survive unchanged, some of the ideas may get through.

All of Kittitas County is currently part of the 13th Legislative District. It’s a long stretch of district, heading east into Grant and Lincoln counties, as well as dipping a tiny bit into Yakima County.

Redistricting is required every 10 years after each Census. Districts must be balanced for population.

If nothing else, the four proposed maps are good conversation starters.

April Sims, House Democratic Caucus appointee, has all of Kittitas County in the 13th, but instead on the district heading east, she has in taking a turn north. Moses Lake would still be in the district, but it would be on the eastern edge and the district would travel north and include Douglas and part of Okanogan County.

Paul Graves, House Republican Caucus appointee, actually does what would have thought impossible, and makes the district even stretchier. His map also has Kittitas County entirely in the 13th, but the district would stretch across Snoqualmie Pass and include North Bend. In this formation, the district would lose Moses Lake — it would be cut by a notch of the 9th District.

Brady Piñero Walkinshaw, Senate Democrat Caucus appointee, may be the most creative. His plan would split Kittitas County between two legislative districts. Ellensburg and the lower valley would be in the 15th District and Cle Elum/Roslyn and the Upper County would be in the 13th District. The 15th would include parts of Kittitas, Grant, Yakima and Benton counties. The city of Yakima would not be in this district. Hanford would be in the district, but Tri-Cities would not. The new 13th would drop into Yakima to include Naches, then swing over the mountains and include North Bend and bit of south King County and Pierce County, including Mount Rainier National Park.

Joe Fain, Senate Republican Caucus appointee, leaves all of Kittitas County in the 13th, but cuts off the eastern end of the district. Moses Lake would still be in the 13th. But he includes a different portion of Yakima County, taking a western chunk that includes Naches.

All the maps are available on Washington Redistricting Commission website and definitely worth checking out.

Kittitas County may not be a political football, but we’ve moved before. It is best to keep track of how we are being eyed by the powers that be.

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