Mud flies over legislative redistricting - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Mud flies over legislative redistricting

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By Cheryl Lasseter - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The Mississippi House of Representatives passed the Republican-controlled Senate's version of redistricting, but last week the Senate didn't return the sentiment, sending the House's version to a conference committee.

Now, Representative Ed Blackmon has fighting words on the front lines of this battle.

"My colleagues who are white democrats in the House, there's an attempt to make them an endangered species. For the sole purpose of Republicans to determine who gets elected Speaker (of the House)," Representative Blackmon says. "Governor Barbour, he started the spark that lit this fire."

He added, "The Lieutenant Governor, who has more of a role in this than anybody in the state, the guy who wants to be our governor, who is trying to manipulate who is gonna be Speaker, has brought us to this point now."

Governor Haley Barbour is in Iowa, and Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant declined to comment on Representative Blackmon's remarks.

Senator Terry Burton is Chairman of the Joint Committee on Redistricting. He had made a motion to concur over the House plan, but the Senate voted to go to conference.

"We've appointed conferees, the House says they're not gonna appoint a conferee, so we're just waiting. We're at a point we can't do anything without the house," Senator Burton says.

Currently, Democrats control the house. House Speaker Billy McCoy has not announced if he will seek re-election, and it's McCoy who is now refusing to appoint any house conferees on the redistricting matter.

If the House and Senate don't agree on redistricting, the matter will be in the hands of the Justice Department.

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