Oklahoma’s legislature has gone into special session this week to focus on redistricting of the state’s congressional districts. While it might seem to be more of a political story than one dealing with energy, it will also eventually have an important energy connection.
The state’s U.S. Representatives concern themselves with Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry along with electrical power, wind, solar and other related matters. They are and will be the ones supporting or opposing some energy-related bills in the nation’s capitol—thus the legislative special session carries significant weight for those worried about the costs of gasoline, home-heating fuel, transportation, pipelines and oil and gas exploration.
The special session began Monday morning as legislators prepared for the “first reading” of bills. On Tuesday, committees on redistricting will hear the bills.
By Wednesday, the bills will be heard in their chamber of origin and on Thursday, bills will be heard in committees opposite their chamber of origin. (House bills will be heard by Senate committees and Senate-originated bills will be heard by House committees.)
Theoretically, if legislators haven’t run into major stumbling blocks, on Friday the bills will be heard on the floor opposite their chamber origin and adjournment might be accomplished.
The whole point of the special session is to legitimize the redrawing of congressional districts based on population shifts found in the 2020 U.S. census.
That’s where the politics comes into play as the political news website Non-Doc reported this week.
“Because Republicans hold such an enormous advantage in both chambers of the Oklahoma Legislature, this week’s redistricting bills are expected to be heard and passed relatively quickly, despite presumed objections and speeches from Democrats, who are particularly frustrated with how the new proposed congressional map will carve southwest Oklahoma City out of the 5th Congressional District. Republicans will defend the new map as featuring rounder districts (see: compactness) and ensuring agriculture-industry influence across the board, but they will do so knowing the map will likely make it more difficult for a Democrat to recapture CD 5.”