Redistricting battle continues inside the state capitol - - Jackson, MS

Redistricting battle continues inside the state capitol

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

There's new movement on Mississippi's redistricting plan Wednesday evening.

This comes after the House of Representatives revived their embattled plan by adding it to a resolution to be presented back to the Senate.

Now, many lawmakers who where hoping to go home Wednesday, realized they will be staying in Jackson.

With this new movement brings a new battle.

Redistricting is the last hurdle of this session and it appears lawmakers may not be able to get over it.

The majority of each chamber blames the other for holding up the process and now there's a new push to get it done, but time is running out.

It's the one fight that's taken over the 2011 legislative session.

"You drew these districts. You know you did. You know you participated in this."

Redistricting is again spurring debate as the final days of the extended session wind down.

To possibly reach an agreement both the House and Senate have now voted to approve a resolution allowing Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant and House Speaker Billy McCoy to reconvene the legislature any time before or on Monday's deadline.

If a deal can be reached, the House added a little something extra to it's approval.

"By a vote of 62 yeas and 56 nays, I believe it's passed."

What passed is the initial House redistricting plan, which is now an amendment to the original resolution.

It's the same plan which already failed the Senate.

Those in support of it say the Senate needs to let the House does it work.

"Senate needs to do what's right," said Rep. Steve Holland, (D) Plantersville. "This scotched earth political business needs to be put in the closet and we need districts that we have drawn, not a court."

Those against the House plan say this maneuver may be yet another failed attempt in the Senate.

"The bottom line is there is a process for doing these types of things and it's called a conference committee and it requires six conferees, three from the house and three from the senate and currently we don't have any house conferees," said Sen. Joey Fillingane, (R) Sumrall.

The Senate already voted to send redistricting to a conference but House Speaker Billy McCoy refused to appoint House Conferees and still has no plans of doing so.

It's a battle that many lawmakers say comes down to one thing.

"We are still fighting whatever day this is of the legislature, who is going to be speaker of this house," said Rep. Ed Blackmon, (D) Canton.

It's that fight over political control which could wind up costing taxpayers in the long run.

"It's anybody's guess as to where we're going to end up," Rep. Blackmon said. "I know this, that the courts are the last resort and hopefully we won't leave it in the hands of the court."

With both sides standing firm, that last resort may be the only resort.

The resolution with the amendment approved by the House was held on a motion to reconsider.

That will be taken up Thursday before it heads to the Senate, where more debate could follow.

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