Republicans advance bills to maintain single minority district

Published: Feb. 5, 2022

By: Margaret DeLaney, Rosel Flores and Salena Ali, LSU Manship School News Service

BATON ROUGE — Republicans on Senate and House committees voted along party lines Friday to maintain a single majority-minority congressional district in Louisiana, turning back efforts to make it easier for minority residents to elect a second Black congressman.

The Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee also voted along party lines to redraw state Senate districts in a way that is likely to leave Black politicians with 11 Senate seats, as they now have, rather than give them a chance to have 13 seats.

The Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee, led by Sen. Sharon Hewitt (center), voted Friday to approve Republican-sponsored redistricting bills.
The Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee, led by Sen. Sharon Hewitt (center), voted Friday to approve Republican-sponsored redistricting bills. Alex Tirado/LSU Manship School News Service

The Republican bills will move to the Senate and House floors for further debate.

Civil rights groups have threatened to sue if minorities do not gain further representation in the process. They also could appeal to Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, to veto any final bills they consider unfair, and legislators would have to mount two-thirds votes to override any veto.

The 2020 Census showed that Louisiana’s minority population had increased over the previous decade while the white population declined slightly. Black residents make up about a third of the state’s population.

The six Republicans on the Senate committee voted to approve a bill by Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell, the panel’s chairwoman, that would likely leave five of the state’s six congressional seats with white representatives.

The three Democrats on the committee opposed the bill.

Read more at the Daily World

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