SALT LAKE CITY -- Late Monday night, a congressional map was approved by the House, 50-19, with five Republicans against and three Democrats voting in favor of the proposal during a special session.
It was then sent to the Senate for final approval.
The Senate also approved it along party line, 20-5. It now goes to the Senate president for signing during the regular session in January before going to the governor. Representatives debated a substitute bill that made minor changes to a map approved Oct. 3 by the Senate. GOP representatives spent most of the day in closed caucus meetings discussing the map before presenting it on the floor at 8:15 p.m. for debate.
The substitute map was sponsored by Rep. Don Ipson, R-St. George. He said it represents just a few changes to the map approved by the Senate two weeks ago when the governor called the special session.
Legislators had to divide the state from three congressional districts into four. The state has to go through redistricting every 10 years after the census is completed.
The map cuts Davis County in Kaysville, splitting a portion into District 2, along with Fruit Heights, Farmington, Bountiful, Centerville, North Salt Lake, Woods Cross and West Bountiful.
The remaining northern part of Davis County is in District 1, along with Weber, Box Elder and Morgan counties.
The other change to the base map included putting part of San Pete County and part of Juab County in District 2.
It splits Salt Lake County in three, placing it into districts 2, 3 and 4.
"Overall, this map is a great compromise," Ipson said.
Rep. Patricia Arent, D-Salt Lake City, said, "This is a very, very important bill."
The map splits neighborhoods in her district, and she wanted the public to have time to review it.
"I do not want us to make hasty decisions," Arent said. "I urge us not to support this bill."
Rep. Karen Poulson, D-Salt Lake City, opposed the map because Bountiful does not have anything in common with St. George.
"Also, why would people want to vote if the outcome is predetermined?" Poulson said.
Rep. Gage Froerer, R-Huntsville, who served on the redistricting committee, spoke in favor of the changes.
"Let's be clear, there's a difference in having your voice heard and having your way," Froerer said. "The public has been represented."
Tension rose Monday at the Capitol as the hours ticked by while the House GOP met in several closed caucus meetings to hash out a congressional map from several proposals.
"The Democrats don't want to split up Salt Lake City or Salt Lake County, but are fine with splitting up Utah and Davis counties," said House Majority Leader Rep. Brad Dee, R-Washington Terrace.
"I can understand that, but to be fair to Utah and to keep the numbers fair and accurate, no, we're not going to do that. Your county is going to be split."
Dee said he would like to see all of the state's counties kept whole, but it won't be possible.
Sen. Jerry Stephenson, R-Layton, said the Senate GOP caucus' position was not to accept any map from the House that differed substantially from the map the Senate approved Oct. 3.
Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis said about the closed meetings, "This is the type of arrogant, pretentious and disdainful behavior Utahns have come to expect from Utah's Republican leadership."
The Democratic Party has filed its intention to file a lawsuit concerning the congressional redistricting process.