Nebraska legislative committee kicks off redistricting work

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FILE – In this file photo from Sept. 16, 2003, the valley where the Niobrara and the Missouri Rivers meet is seen from a hilltop at the Niobrara State Park near Lynch, in northeast Nebraska. The Nebraska Supreme Court is expected to decide whether to scrap state-mandated restrictions that have kept a long stretch of the Niobrara River basin off-limits to new irrigation development for more than two years. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska legislative committee kicked off its effort to redraw the state’s political boundaries, showing early signs of an urban-rural divide as some lawmakers questioned whether rural population declines were as severe as census numbers show.

Data presented to the committee confirms that legislative districts in rural, western Nebraska all lost residents. Suburban Omaha and Lincoln posted big gains.

One district in the remote Nebraska Panhandle lost 15.5% of its population from 2010 to 2020.

A fast-developing Omaha-area district gained 31.1%. Republicans in the ostensibly nonpartisan Legislature are striving to maintain GOP dominance, while Democrats are looking for any edge they can find.

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