POSTED: 4:42 p.m. HST, Dec 16, 2011
The state Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments on Jan. 4 to hear from the parties in two lawsuits challenging new political districts drawn up by the state Reapportionment Commission.
Lawsuits contend the nine-member commission included too many nonresident military members, spouses and students in the permanent resident population base when drawing new political boundaries.
Doing so prevents Hawaii island from gaining a fourth Senate seat in the state Legislature, they argue.
Oahu would lose a Senate seat.
The exclusion of the military members, most of whom live on Oahu, also would shift state House district lines.
Members of the Reapportionment Commission said they did the best they could to exclude nonpermanent residents — those who live in Hawaii but claim legal residence elsewhere — with the limited information that was avaialble. Changes in privacy laws prohibited the commission from using previous methods of extracting nonresidents from the population base.
One lawsuit was filed by Sen. Malama Solomon and members of the Hawaii County Committee of the state Democratic Party.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie has sided with the plaintiffs and said the commission should be compelled to redraw the lines to reflect a more accurate base population.