On Wednesday the House passed the Senate’s Joint Resolution 202, but not without an attempt to change it.
The bill would change the lines of District’s 22 and 13, in accordance with a federal court ruling in the favor of three plaintiffs that claimed the redistricting of 2012 violated federal voting rights.
When the bill came to the House, Rep. Bryant Clark began speaking against the plan that the Senate offered, questioning why one of the three options provided by the courts was not used. He said that the numbers Senators were relying on were several years old and not accurate in complying with the black voting percentage.
He offered an amendment to the bill, something that is typically not seen from the opposite chamber in regards of drawing district lines. The Representatives amendment would mirror what the courts proposed for the redistricting.
Rep. Reynolds asks how the Senators affected felt about this plan. It passed the Senate unanimously, and Sen. W. Simmons of SD 13, didn’t indicate any issues with it. #msleg
— Yall Politics (@MSyallpolitics) March 27, 2019
The amendment failed and the bill went on to pass with a vote of 78 to 36.
On Tuesday afternoon the Senate took up a resolution pertaining to the redistricting of Senate District 22.
Joint Resolution, JR 202, was filled by Senator Tollison for the redistricting of SD 22 by way of SD 13, SD 13 is Senator Willie Simmons. It was quickly taken to the Rules Committee and presented on the floor. With very little discussion and no debate, JR 202 was adopted by a unanimous vote and immediate release was requested.
Sen. Simmons(13th) states on the Senate floor that he supports JR 202.
JR 202 then passed the Senate by a vote of 52-0. #msleg
— MS Statewatch (@MSStatewatch) March 26, 2019
It now goes to the House.
The resolution was necessary to redefine the lines of Senate District 22 after a federal court ruled in favor of plaintiffs claiming that the district lines violated Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act. The case was brought on behalf of three African-American voters in Senate District 22, one of whom is Joseph Thomas, a former state senator from Yazoo City who lost in a run for the seat in 2015 after he had been moved into the district during the 2012 redistricting.
RELATED: Federal court orders redistricting of MS Senate District 22 after lawsuit from failed candidate
However, on the final pages of the bill, there is a clause that could change it all in regards to the lawsuit. Lines 582 through 585 suggest that in the event of a successful appeal of the Joseph Thomas, et al. v. Phil Bryant, et al. case, that the resolution would not take effect and districts would return to their original configuration as defined in the Laws of 2012.
- Redistricts parts of Bolivar County (Choctaw, Longshot, NW Cleveland etc) into SD 13, portions of Sunflower County
- Redistricts portions of Sunflower County to SD 22 (Indianola 2 East, Indianola 2 West and Inverses Precincts).
Mississippi adopted a new redistricting plan after the 2010 census, that went into effect in 2012.
The district as drawn in 2012 contained 50.8% black voting age population (BVAP). The BVAPs for the surrounding districts are: District 12 – Derrick Simmons (67.7), District 13 – Willie Simmons (68.9), District 24 – David Jordan (73.7), District 21 – Barbara Blackmon (65.8), District 25 – Walter Michel (17), District 26 – John Horhn (66.4) and District 23 – Briggs Hopson (41.9)
Any districts that are affected by redistricting has the qualifying deadline reopen until April 12, which makes the choice of those districts a political football.The new lines would change the black voting percentages from 51% to 58% in SD 22 and from 69% to 62% in SD 13.
While it was not brought up, another resolution to redraw the lines was introduced by Sen. Blackmon.
Joint Resolution 201 (JR 201) was filed by Senator Blackmon, would have addressed redistricting of SD 22 by way of SD 23. The Senators elected in these districts are Senator Buck Clarke and Senator Briggs Hopson.
- Redistricts all of Issaquena County into SD 22, portions of Warren County, Portions of Yazoo County
- Redistricts portions of Madison County (not already included) into SD 23, portions of Warren County, portions of Yazoo County
Blackmon also submitted a Senate Concurrent Resolution, SCR 667, to suspend the qualifying deadline for potential candidates in certain districts which was not discussed.