New PSC Map Affects the Golden Triangle
A panel of federal judges who ruled that Montana's map of Public Service Commission districts is unconstitutional has chosen a new map to be used in the 2022 election. The panel chose a map designed by Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen, which moves Glacier, Pondera and Musselshell counties into District 1 and Deer Lodge County into District 4.
The previous map was set in 2003. Since then, Montana's population has grown in some areas but not others. Census figures show the population difference between the most and least populated districts is now more than 50,000. The court ruled that the 2003 map now violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal representation.
The judges emphasized the new map is only in place until the Montana Legislature fixes the issue of population disparities between the districts. Montana lawmakers attempted to call a special session this year to devise new districts but the plan fell through. In a statement, House Speaker Wylie Galt said the court should have waited to let the lawmakers fix the issue in the 2023 session but appreciates that the judges recognized the Legislature's authority.