By Mike McDaniel
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) – How district lines are drawn in Mississippi makes progress at the State Capitol. The House voted to pass a Senate plan that was approved last week. But not without adding an original House version back into the mix.
This plan certainly didn't have overwhelming support as the House voted to attach it to the Senate plan.
It passed 68 to 53.
Democratic Rep. Thomas Reynolds says, "We're trying to do the right thing with this plan."
By passing the Senate plan, those who support the one from the House are hoping the Senate will give its seal of approval.
Fellow democrat, Rep. Bobby Moak says, "I believe, when it gets to the Senate, that the Senate will back up, take a look at their work and take a look at the work of the House and see that everyone was involved in the plan."
Rep. Robert Johnson says, "We have presented a plan that we have vetted and we are sure that the justice department will approve."
Before it gets to the Justice Department, there's still one obstacle in the way. If the Senate does not approve the amendment from the House, redistricting could wind up in a conference committee. Although lawmakers can't seem to agree on just where to draw the lines, they do agree on one thing. They don't want to wind up in court.
Going to court could mean lawmakers would have two back-to-back elections, which could prove costly to taxpayers.
Johnson says, "We can assure the people of Mississippi that we'll take care of their business; that we won't leave it to the courts or the Justice Department. We're going to get these two plans passed and I'm sure that the Senate will comply with our plan and concur."
When it comes to drawing the lines of how Mississippians will vote, some lawmakers say it's best left to those who know the districts and not the other chamber.
Moak says, "I think that the Senate is probably the best body to draft their legislation, their districts and I think the House is the best body to draft their districts."
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