Potential changes to state districts - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Potential changes to state districts

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By Ashley Conroy

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - As part of the 2010 Census count, state lawmakers will generate a series of public meetings over the next month to hear concerns about potential "rezoning" of a legislative or congressional district.

It's a team of state senate and house members called the Congressional Redistricting, Elections and Legislative Reapportionment Committee.

At the Capitol on Monday, the committee held a preliminary meeting to discuss their plan for getting as much input across the state from the public.

Committee Chairman, Senator Terry Burton (R)-Newton, says these meetings will address public concerns about rezoning a district.

"We could add districts here, move one from a slow growth area to a high growth area and vice versa," said Burton.

Burton said adding more state house or senate members won't happen because there is already a cap in place.

"Those numbers won't change, they're set in stone. That's the maximum we can have under the constitution, so that's where we're going to be," said Burton.

However, Burton said adding another congressman to Mississippi could happen if there is a major shift in population.

Burton adds that the likelihood of adding a fifth one is slim-to-none based on passed population changes.

"We will neither grow enough to get another one or lose enough, to lose one. So I think we will continue to have four congressman," said Burton.

Meantime, before the committee will have any further insight as to what changes will happen, if any, the Census count won't be finalized until after the first of the year.

"The Census Bureau is going to have that data to us, according to what they project now, around February 4th or 5th," said Rep. Tommy Reynolds, (D)-Charleston.

The committee is meeting in Jackson on Sept. 15th at 6 p.m. at the Hinds County Courthouse.

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