Published: May 26, 2021
By: Emily Wood, LSU Manship School News Service
BATON ROUGE, La. (LSU Manship School News Wire) – Seven bills and one House resolution about voting and elections advanced through the House and Senate committees on governmental affairs Wednesday.
The resolution, sponsored by House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, provides criteria for considering redistricting plans to draw boundaries for seats in Congress and the state Legislature based on 2020 Census information.
Rep. John Stefanski, R-Crowley, speaking on behalf of Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, said that a joint group that drafted the resolution used the rules for redistricting from 10 years ago as a guiding point.
The criteria include compliance with the Voting Rights Act, respecting recognized political boundaries and natural geography of the state and keeping districts substantially equal.
Rep. Wilford Carter Sr., D-Lake Charles, expressed his concerns that racial demographics were not taken into consideration in the resolution. African Americans are concerned that while they make up 30% of the state’s population, they can only realistically win one of the seven congressional seats based on how the districts are now drawn.
But Stefanski pointed to the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th and 15th Amendments in the United States Constitution included in the resolution.
“We are going to follow the law, we are going to follow the numbers and we are going to draw the fairest maps we can,” said Stefanski, who chairs the House Governmental Affairs Committee, which will oversee the process.
The resolution passed favorably without opposition and will move to the House floor.
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