Redistricting maps in place and under private review - - Jackson, MS

Redistricting maps in place and under private review

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The battle over how district lines will look in Mississippi is now beginning. Proposed house and senate maps are in place, announced Friday morning during the joint legislative redistricting committee meeting which lasted about two minutes. The maps were not revealed to the public or media.

"Because of the complexity of the redistricting, the draft plan is being reviewed by experts under contract with our attorneys to determine the plan's compliance with Section Five of the Voting Rights Act and traditional redistricting principles," said representative Bill Denny of Jackson.

Denny is pushing forward the house plan while Senator Merle Flowers is pushing the one from the senate. Both men declined further comment about the maps but told the committee once guidance is given by those experts, the committee will be called for a vote.  

"We will consult with our experts regarding the plan's compliance with pertinent law," said Flowers of Southaven.

With the waiting game in play, committee member, Representative Percy Watson says the lines will have major impacts on the legislature.

"I just hope we see something as soon as possible," said Watson of Hattiesburg.

With republicans in control of both chambers, Watson, a democrat says he expects the legislature will adopt a plan this year, but end up being contested in court.

"Members, whether it's for political reasons or other reason, will probably have major objections to what's proposed and what's passed by the legislature," said Watson.

Last year, political fights over redistricting caused the session to end without the adoption of new maps. However the lines look this year, Watson says he just hopes new districts will show correct population shifts, especially in the Delta and his home district of the Pine Belt.

"You really want the process to be fair and you want the end results are really reflective of what the demographics are here in the state of Mississippi," said Watson.

With drafts now in place, lawmakers can take up redistricting anytime before the end of the session on May 5th.

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