SALT LAKE CITY -- A focus on public lands policy is driving a push by the Republican-heavy Legislature to include a significant number of rural voters in each congressional district.
Republican lawmakers on the state's redistricting committee say if one district were completely comprised of urban voters, the state runs the risk of having a congressman who ignores rural issues.
The federal government owns more than 75 percent of the land in some of Utah's least-populated counties.
Democrats claim the public lands issue is a smoke-screen to justify partisan gerrymandering and to divide Democratic-leaning Salt Lake County, which is home to more than a third of the state's 2.8 million people.
The full Legislature is meeting Monday to give final approval to election boundaries that will be in place for the next decade.