/Senate passes Mississippi redistricting proposal

Senate passes Mississippi redistricting proposal

Wednesday’s 33-18 vote by the Mississippi Senate approved the congressional redistricting plan that had been passed earlier in the session by the House. Now, the plan goes to Governor. Tate Reeves can sign the plan into law or veto. Editor’s Note: You can find the new congressional map at the bottom. The federal courts redrawn the state’s congressional districts after both the 2000 U.S. Census and the 2010 U.S. Census. This was done because the Legislature couldn’t agree on a plan due to partisan bickering. Although there were some partisan differences, the Republicans’ grip on the legislative process was strong enough to suppress any Democratic objections. As was the case last week in the House, Democrats in the Senate opposed the Republican plan for expanding the African American majority District 2 nearly the entire length of Mississippi, from Tunica County, northwest Mississippi, to the Louisiana border, southwest Mississippi. If the plan is approved, District 2 will cover 40% of the state’s landmass. The Republican Senate Pro Tem Dean Kirby (R-Pearl), presented the Republican plan. Kirby stated that the District 2 proposal maintained “communities” because it would run along the Mississippi River, which runs on the west side of the state. Kirby stated that “We tried to follow what the courts (in the past), as much as possible.” Kirby added that the plan was fair and that no incumbent congressman gets everything in the proposal. READ MORE: Redistricting Committee accused of violating public meetings law. Bennie Thompson, the longest-serving U.S. Representative, is also an African American and was the sole Democrat in the delegation. He proposed that Hinds County should be included in his District 2. The Republicans rejected this proposal. Senator Derrick Simmons, D.Greenville, stated that Thompson, who hails from Hinds County should be able represent his entire home county just like the three white Republican incumbents. Sen. David Jordan (D-Greenwood) said that the Republican plan makes an African American like himself wonder. Sen. Angela Turner Ford (D-West Point), offered a plan that was rejected. It would have included DeSoto County, which is fast growing, and all of Hinds within Thompson’s District 2. All proposals aimed to keep District 2 with a Black population of around 60%. Turner Ford’s proposal increased the Black voting age population in District 3, mainly located in east Mississippi, from 30 percent to 37%. Turner-Ford, a Black man, stated that the proposal “represents an opportunity for those individuals which are part of Black voting-age population have more influence and a greater say in Congressional District 3”. The Republican majority plan was opposed by all 16 Democrats in the chamber. The Republican plan was opposed by Melanie Sojourner from Natchez and Chris McDaniel from Ellisville, two Republicans. Sojourner represents parts of southwest Mississippi being moved from District 3 into District 2 by the Republican plan.