House and Senate agree to plan to redesign congressional districts to account for population changes

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – The debate over redrawing the lines for Louisiana’s congressional districts is over and the new map is headed to the governor’s office for approval.

The Louisiana House and Senate have agreed to a plan to redraw the state’s congressional districts to accommodate shifting populations. The plan is incorporated into identical bills that have been approved by both legislative bodies.

After the final procedural votes, the plan will go to Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Governor Edwards will then be under pressure from black lawmakers to issue a veto because the plan does not create a majority black second district in Congress.

Republican supporters of the approved plan said dividing the black population between two congressional districts would provide very small black majorities in those districts and could be seen as diminishing the strength of black voters.

A statement from Louisiana House Democratic Caucus Chairman Sam Jenkins following the redistricting session:

“Unfortunately, the Legislature adjourned today without doing what we were sent here to do: pass new electoral maps that respect census data, the wishes of our citizens and the Voting Rights Act. The data and the law told us that minority representation should be increased at all levels, but the majority party made no real attempt to follow the data or the law. Instead, it has been left to Democrats to come up with common-sense cards that respect the law by increasing minority representation while avoiding gerrymandering and maintaining communities of interest. These cards were discarded or killed without sincere consideration, and cards were forced to aggressively and illegally suppress the voices of minority Louisianans. It’s another sad chapter in Louisiana’s long history of suppressing minority representation in government. We urge the governor to veto the Congressional card and any other card that violates the Voting Rights Act.

Governor John Bel Edwards issued the following statement as the Louisiana Legislature adjourned its special redistricting session sine die.

Governor Edwards said:

As Americans, voting for the leaders who will represent us is one of our most cherished and important rights and responsibilities. As elected officials, regardless of our political party or affiliation, we all have a responsibility to ensure that the voting process is fair for all and that electoral maps do not have the effect of diluting the strength of vote of certain groups. As I have often said: voters should choose their leaders; leaders should not pick and choose our voters.

“Throughout this legislative session, I have had discussions with a diverse group of lawmakers and leaders about different map proposals, and I will be taking a close look at the new district maps that the Louisiana Legislature has released. adopted before making a decision on how to proceed. I remain adamant that maps must reflect the growth of the African American population in our state over the past 10 years, allowing minority groups to have the opportunity to elect the candidates of their choice, and I fear that several of the cards do not meet this moral and legal requirement.

“I thank the Legislative Assembly for the time and attention given to these maps and for the sometimes moving and difficult debate that preceded their adoption. I promise the people of Louisiana that I will review them very carefully to determine if I believe they are reasonable, fair, and compliant with the Voting Rights Act.

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