Redistricting Focus Moves To The SenateBy Jeffrey Hess | Published 05 Mar 2011 11:04am |
Now that the Mississippi House has passed a redistricting plan, the redistricting focus moves to the Senate. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that plans from both chambers are now in the Senate.
The Mississippi House voted narrowly to approve their new legislative districting map over the weekend.
The new house map, based on 2010 census data, reduces the number of split precincts and increase the number of minority districts from 39 to 44.
The plan passed by a 5 vote margin with a mix of both parties voting for it and against it. But that was enough for house redistricting chairman Tommy Reynolds of Charleston.
“I am proud that we got a plan that we were able to pass, so that we don’t have to have the federal court order us to run twice and have a totally unnecessary set of elections,” Reynolds said.
Senate redistricting Chairman Terry Burton of Newton says he plans to introduce the senate redistricting map today.
“The main issue is just tweaking some areas. Making sure we don’t retrogress in the Jackson area on African-American and minority representation. Making sure we get the population right in some of the other areas of the state, like east-central Mississippi where we had some reductions in population. And making sure that the coast is drawn right,” Burton said.
Burton says that he expects that the Senate will have its new map approved by the end of the week.
Each chamber must sign off on their other side's legislative map, which it has traditionally done without changes.
However, Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant indicated late last year that the Senate will review the house much plan more closely this year...
“And I think it is time that we began to use the Constitution and both of us look at those plans. The old gentleman’s agreement was the Senate wouldn’t look at the house plan. They would vote it without even debate. The house would take the Senate plan and pass it without debate. I think, this year, there is going to be a vigorous debate on both sides until we get a proper plan,” Bryant said.
Leadership in the house has bristled at the possibility of close cross scrutiny.
Representative Reynolds says that he neither has the time nor knowledge of the Senate to appropriately judge their map, and he trusts Senators think the same.
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