Story Archives: Redistricting side effects
|Redistricting side effects|
State lawmakers approved legislative redistricting plans during the recently completed special session that carved out 29 minority districts in the House and 10 minority districts in the Senate.
There are 105 House districts and 39 Senate districts.
The 29 minority House districts represent an increase of two minority districts over the number of minority districts that existed in the House over the past 10 years. The 10 minority Senate districts are one more than the number of minority districts the Senate featured over the past decade.
The increase in the number of minority districts in the Legislature was part of a compromise House Speaker Jim Tucker and Senate President Joel Chaisson agreed to in convincing lawmakers to adopt redistricting plans the two legislative leaders sponsored.
Redistricting was necessary to reflect shifts in population in Louisiana in light of the 2010 Census.
It was within reason for the Legislature to increase the number of minority districts in the House and Senate since minorities comprise roughly one-third of the state's population. We would be remiss, though, if we did not point out that increasing the number of minority districts in the Legislature prompted lawmakers to draw majority white districts that diluted the number of minorities in those majority white districts. The Legislature did it simply to pacify minority lawmakers who demanded an increase in the number of minority districts.
In time, we will learn whether the Legislature's handling of legislative redistricting passes muster with the U.S. Department of Justice. Justice must sign off on redistricting in Louisiana as well as in other states across the Deep South to ensure minorities were not disenfranchised during the redistricting process.
In time, we witness minorities lose some of their influence over the legislative process at the capitol in Baton Rouge because minority lawmakers will be hard pressed to convince lawmakers who represent those super majority white districts to embrace concerns in the minority community.
That's exactly what will evolve from crafting super majority white legislative districts while compacting minorities in an increased number of minority districts.