JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - New districting lines for Mississippi lawmakers passed their first test for approval. This afternoon, the Mississippi house re-districting plan was passed by it's members.
It wasn't an overwhelming victory but the house redistricting plan passed by a vote of 65 yeah's to 56 nays. The debate before the final vote, spirited and sometimes heartfelt.
Representative America Middleton lost several hundred constituents after the new lines were drawn, he voted nay.
"We were down in southwest Mississippi fighting for votes we shouldn't have to fight for. The problem I had with the plan so when we do that then the only thing we can do is move out of the area to pick up votes."
Members of they reapportionment committee say the new lines accounted for population shifts, and will protect the voter rights of minorities statewide.
Committee Chair Representative Thomas Reynolds says, "Five counties that had been split before are whole now double the number of counties we had we got the gulf coast maintains representatives they had and did not lose a seat Desoto fast growing picks up two seats they were entitled to."
In the end, the number of minority black districts would increase from 39-to-44 under the new plan.
The House redistricting plan will go to the Senate for approval sometime next week. The Senate is expected to release their own redistricting plan around the same time. If they are both passed the plans will then go to the U-S Justice Department for approval.
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