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Redistricting Makes A Surprise Reappearance

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 23 Mar 2011 12:13pm | comments
The maps as passed by the House.

The Redistricting fight among Mississippi lawmakers makes a surprise reappearance on the Floor of the Mississippi Senate. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports on the growing calls for compromise.

Senator Hob Bryan of Amory brought the redistricting discussion back to the Senate floor when he called for what is known as a committee of the whole in an attempt to have the Senate again pass its redistricting map.

Bryan says another vote from the Senate would loosen up the stalemate between the the house and the senate.

"I would urge you if you have any hope that we are going to redistrict this year to please vote to go into the committee of the whole. Let's pass this bill out. Let's pass it and send it to the House and see if there is some solution," Bryan said.

After a brief recess, the Senate rejected Bryan's call.

Lt. Governor Phil Bryant says there is no need to pass the map again.

"So what Senator Bryan is asking us to do is approve the identical bill although one is alive in conference waiting for negotiation. I just don't see the purpose in that," Bryant said.

The process has come to a halt since the Senate rejected the house map and the House has so far refused to appoint negotiators.

Early Wednesday morning, Representative George Flaggs, a well know democrat from Vicksburg, released a letter calling on the House and Senate to compromise and avoid a court battle.

"Republicans have look at their individual districts and are pretty much satisfied. It is the outside agitators like the Republican Party and others that are irritating the process," Flaggs said.

Representative Ed Blackmon of Canton says the house shouldn't make changes if it means diluting the black vote to create more republican districts.

"So how do you satisfy Republican concerns about being able to have a quote 'level playing field'? You got to kick black folk and reduce their percentages in those swing districts," Blackmon said.

The legislature needs to redraw districts every ten years to adjust for shifts in population. It is unclear if lawmakers will achieve that goal before the end of the session or if the issue will end up in court. 

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The maps as passed by the House.


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