Lawmakers will not convene for the next two week as they are in recess to hold redistricting hearings in their respective districts.
Senate President Pro-tem Del Marsh and Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard said they wanted to address redrawing Congressional and school board lines during the Regular Legislative Session in order to avoid calling a special session devoted to the matter.
They also said they will address legislative redistricting in the coming sessions ahead of the 2014 elections. Basically, there is no rush to rewrite legislative districts since the election is so far off.
Alabama is in a much better spot than other states in regard to Congressional redistricting, simply because the state didn’t lose a Congressional District. Having to eliminate a district would have been an enormous political headache and it would be very difficult to avoid Federal intervention from the Justice Department.
Public hearings on redistricting will be held this week in Huntsville, Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery, and Selma where the public is invited to weigh in on the process.
Speaker Hubbard said he hoped the process wouldn’t be a very partisan, noting the GOP will be the party in control of the process for the first time in a very long time.
Democrats proposed their own plan to Speaker Hubbard and President Pro-tem Marsh to appoint a group of citizens to run the process instead of the committee on reapportionment in the legislature. We don’t have a response yet from GOP leadership but it is likely the GOP will go ahead with its own plan for reapportionment given the fact Democrats had controlled the process for so many years.
There is no use in speculating what the new Congressional or school board lines will look like. The legislature will draw the map and it is very possible the initial map they draw could be the final version. Combine the two facts that Republicans control supermajorities in both the House and Senate and that Governor Robert Bentley is a Republican, a veto of the map is unlikely.
It will be interesting to see what lawmakers come up with as the new Congressional and school board maps. GOP leadership have said the goal is to complete redistricting by the end of the legislative session.
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