Louisiana Senate introduces 20 bills for review in redistricting session

Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge, La.
Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge, La.(Source: WAFB)
Published: Feb. 1, 2022 at 5:21 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 2, 2022 at 10:11 AM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (KALB) - UPDATE: As of the morning of Feb. 2, the House had filed three bills. Representatives have until 2 p.m. to submit amendments and bills for this session.

The 2022 Special Session has begun down in Baton Rouge. The session happens once every decade following the collection of census data nationwide. The Senate has introduced 20 bills for review.

On Feb. 2, 2022, the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee will take up two of those bills having to do with Senate redistricting.

The first of these is from District 23 State Senator Patrick Cortez. His proposal does not impact many of the parishes in Central Louisiana, except for Rapides, which he proposes to split into six different districts.

The second map is from District 2 State Senator Ed Price, who proposes to split Rapides Parish into four districts, just within slightly different margins than it is now. His map would also make Avoyelles Parish entirely part of District 32, not split between two districts.

“Every district will change at least slightly, and there will be some districts that will change significantly,” said District 22 State Rep. Gabe Firment. “We will probably lose at least one House district in north Louisiana, two in south Louisiana, and in all likelihood, a Senate district as well.”

There are also 10 congressional maps up for review. The majority of those maps would completely restructure the districts of central and northern Louisiana parishes.

In one proposal by District 29 State Sen. Jay Luneau, the edge of north and eastern Louisiana, including Avoyelles Parish, would make up District 5, making all other Central Louisiana parishes a part of District 4.

Part of this remapping is to make districts more equitable for representation among minority populations, especially on the federal level.

“That’s the big elephant in the room, and I think that they can get the two districts that are there,” said District 31 State Sen. Louie Bernard. “Congressman Johnson and Congresswoman Letlow can come south and get the numbers they need. They need a lot of people. But the issue is there are so many pockets of minority. Can you draw a district that meets the legal requirements to do that?”

The House has yet to introduce any maps for review, but they have until 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

Louisiana’s redistricting session is underway

BATON ROUGE, La. (KALB) - The 2022 Special Session is officially underway in Baton Rouge as the legislature looks to redraw districts statewide.

The process includes changes to the U.S. House, State House, State Senate, Public Service Commission and BESE Board. They could also re-map Supreme Court districts, but they do not have to. This effort happens once every decade after a nationwide census is taken up.

One particular point in this year’s session is the creation of an additional majority-minority district. The population of the state is 33% African American and more than 40% of the state population identifies as a minority.

Recently in Alabama, a panel of three federal judges ruled the state’s mapping of only one majority-minority district to be a violation of the voting rights act, barring it from going into effect. Alabama’s population is only 27% African American, so if Louisiana remains with only one majority-minority district by the end of the session, which is currently centered in New Orleans, the state could face the same backlash.

As of now, Governor John Bel Edwards has not indicated if he will veto a map without more than one.

So far, only the Senate has filed maps ahead of tonight’s session. They have filed 16 bills to be taken up.

This is a developing story, and we will have more later this evening.

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