MAYVILLE - Legislature Chairman Fred Croscut, R-Sherman, is proposing a three-person, bipartisan reapportionment commission be formed.
The resolution was filed Friday by Croscut and will go to the full legislature for vote this Wednesday.
As proposed, the commission will be comprised of Croscut, Majority Leader Larry Barmore, R-Gerry, and Minority Leader Rudy Mueller, D-Lakewood. The group will meet after the federal census data is released to evaluate changes in the county's population and make recommendations regarding the boundaries of legislative districts.
According to Croscut, there is a chance that the legislature could be reduced as early as next year as a result of the census data - but only if the reapportionment commission works quickly enough.
There are specific dates such a change would need to be made before, Croscut explained, as it is an election year for the legislature. For that reason, the legislature will be looking to the county attorney for input as to how and when the work will need to be completed to downsize the legislature in the next election.
"If we can do it this year and get agreement, we'll do it," Croscut said of redistricting and downsizing the legislature. "I've said it, John Runkle said it when he was majority leader and Larry Barmore's continued to say it, when we get the numbers, if we can work up a plan that's agreeable to all parties, which is my intention, we'll do it. I want to work with Rudy and Larry and come up with some kind of agreement that we can propose."
The proposal to form a three-person commission is a slight change from what legislators had initially been discussing.
Prior to the three-person commission, there was discussion of a five-person commission - which would have been comprised of Croscut, Barmore and Mueller as well as an additional designee by each party.
In response to the request of the League of Women Voters for representation on the commission, Mueller and the Democrats intended to turn over their party's designee to the League.
Croscut said Thursday that Mueller had informed him of the party's decision. However, Croscut said he sees the task of reapportioning the legislature as something legislators themselves were elected to do.
"It's a job of the legislature," Croscut said. "There is no way that I am against the League of Women Voters or the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce. That is not the point. The point is, we were elected to do this, we were supported by the public to do this and I just don't want it to turn into a circus. It's for that reason that I'm just appointing Larry, Rudy and myself. And I expect Rudy will have the help of the Democrats and I expect that we will have the help of our Republican caucus and I fully intend on reaching some kind of a mutual agreement."