Alabama lawmakers at odds over how to redraw state’s congressional map
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama lawmakers heard from the public again about a new congressional map. The Supreme Court ruled that Alabama’s current map violates the Voting Rights Act. The deadline to create a new map is next Friday.
At Thursday’s public hearing, lawmakers on the reapportionment committee failed to adopt a map to present during the special legislative session. But the options were narrowed down to four maps.
The “Hatcher Remedial Congress Plan 1″ map was created by the leader of the Alabama Democratic Conference, Joe Reed. The map breaks up 87 voting precincts, which is a concern for some lawmakers. Reed said his plan is the only one that has true majority Black districts with districts 2 and 7.
“And I’ll tell you right now I am in favor of the one that I drafted because it’s right,” said Reed.
In contrast, the “Singleton Congressional Map 3″ map keeps counties whole and makes districts 6 and 7 the majority Black districts.
“The Singleton plaintiffs support plans that do not split Jefferson County,” said Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Jefferson County.
The “CLC Map 1″ makes Jefferson County its own congressional district and one of the majority Black districts along with District 7.
The main plaintiff in the case against the state, Evan Milligan, presented “VRA Plaintiffs Remedial Map,” which keeps Black Belt counties whole.
“We need to build a state that actually looks into our future in this country, embraces our promise as a multicultural community and provides a path forward,” said Milligan.
Committee co-Chair Rep. Chris Pringle, R-Mobile County, said with maps submitted from around the world, they are trying to sort through everything by Monday.
“Right now, we’re trying to consolidate and get plans from Alabama residents to you as fast as possible. To be frank, we’re just overwhelmed,” said Pringle.
With Republican leadership on the committee, Democrats are upset that all of the maps aren’t public and say they haven’t even had a look at all the options.
The committee plans to adopt a map at 10 a.m. Monday that they will recommend to the entire legislative body that afternoon at the start of the special legislative session.
The special session is expected to last five days. The deadline to submit a new map to the courts is July 21.
Democrats will host a town hall on this issue at 2 p.m. Sunday at Alabama State University’s Abernathy Auditorium.
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