Senate Reveals Redistricting MapBy Jeffrey Hess | Published 01 May 2012 08:13pm |
Mississippi Senators are expected to vote today on newly redrawn voting lines for their 52 senate seats. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that Senators will vote just one day after the maps were made public.
Senate Redistricting Chairman Merle Flowers of Southaven revealed the new redistricting map during a series of committee meetings yesterday.
The lines have to be redrawn every ten years to account for population shifts, and Flowers says he was able to add a district rapidly growing DeSoto County without collapsing districts in the delta.
"The delta in general lost 30,000 folks but we felt it strongly to protect the six districts in the delta for minorities for retrogression purposes and that just takes time," Flowers said.
Flowers says the map adds two majority black districts to bring the total to 15, including a new district in the Hattiesburg area.
The U-S Justice Department has to review any maps the legislature approves to make sure they are fair to minorities.
Senator Kenny Wayne-Jones of Canton, the newly elected chairman of the legislative black Caucus, says the increase in black districts is a positive move.
"It is going to be very, very hard for Senators to vote against the map that are African-American because the map is as fair as it can be. plus it picks up some more majority districts that we should have done last year, it does it this time. So I don't think the Justice Department is going to have a problem with the Senate map," Wayne-Jones said.
Under this plan, two incumbents would have to face off if they choose to run for re-election, Democratic Senators Bill Stone and Nickey Browning.
Browning says he is disappointed that his district changed so much.
"I don't feel targeted. I am disappointed of course, because I was hoping I would keep more of Pontatoc County than I did and I didn't. So I have got to make the best of what I have got," Browning said.
The Senate is expected to vote on the new map today.
It will also have to approve a plan for all 122 House districts that passed that chamber last week.
The House will also get a chance to review the senate plan before both are sent to the Justice Department for review.
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