Published: Feb. 18, 2022
By: Piper Hutchinson and Alex Tirado, LSU Manship School News Service
On the final day of the redistricting session, the Louisiana House and Senate passed bills Friday that turned back efforts to expand minority representation and preserved the current balance of power in the state’s congressional delegation and the Legislature itself.
After extensive negotiations, both chambers advanced amended congressional maps, sending two identical bills to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ desk. Black lawmakers immediately called on Edwards to veto at least the congressional map.
HB1, authored by House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, and SB5, authored by Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell, came out of closed-door negotiations with a compromise: south of Alexandria, the map is faithful to Schexnayder’s proposal, north of Alexandria, the map is faithful to Hewitt’s proposal.
The Senate passed the amended version of HB1 along party lines with a 27-10 vote.
Across the hall, the House passed the amended SB5 by a vote of 64-31, with three Republicans joining Democrats to vote against the bill and one Democrat voting in favor of passage.
Notably, Rep. Travis Johnson, D-Vidalia, voted against the bill. Johnson, a conservative Black Democrat, had been in the hot seat with his party after voting in favor of Schexnayder’s similar congressional bill earlier in the week.
Rep. Francis Thompson, D-Delhi, was the lone Democrat to vote in favor of the bill.
Both chambers advanced maps for the Public Service Commission, Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and Louisiana House and Senate with relatively little fuss. None of the bills that passed increased minority representation at any level.
Read more at Bossier Press-Tribune