Expect lawmakers to be pretty distracted when Minnesota's redistricting maps are released, legislative leaders said Friday.
"That will throw this place into a little bit of a tizzy for a day or two," said Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester. "It will affect us as a caucus and certainly individually."
Many observers expect a judicial panel to release the new political lines on Tuesday afternoon, although the court has not confirmed it will share the maps then.
The maps, when they are released, will determine which members may have to run against colleagues, which ones have friendlier or less friendly districts and who will have woo a huge number of new constituents. The new lines will determine the shape of both legislative and congressional districts.
"Redistricting coming out on Tuesday will probably suck almost all the oxygen out of the building," said House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove. "There will be lots of folks looking at maps."
Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said the new maps will give the entire session a new glow.
"The campaign will start next week. When the maps come out most legislators are going to be thinking about their districts, who they are paired with, whether they are going to run again. And this place will shift heavy to campaign mode," Bakk said.
A court panel is drawing the maps because DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and the Republican-controlled Legislature failed to agree on how the new maps should look. Their statutory deadline to agree is Tuesday.
Since they are expected to fail at that task, a court panel is working on its own maps. Lissa Finne, a court spokeswoman, said she could not confirm if the panel will release their plans on Tuesday.