Bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
The Mississippi House of Representatives passed the Joint Legislative Redistricting Committee’s proposed “Magnolia 1” Congressional Redistricting plan today by a vote of 76-42.
Rep. Jason White (R) presented the bill, HB 384, outlining the proposed changes necessitated by a shifting state population that saw Congressional District 2 lose some 65,000 people over the last 10 years.
District 2 experienced a decrease of over 9.08%, while the other three districts increased. District 1 had a 2.21% increase, District 3 had a 1.24% increase, and District 4 had a 4.82% increase.
Rep. White explained that as a result, District 2 had to gain a significant population while ensuring that the new map was in compliance with the Voting Rights Act as it pertains to the black voting age population, or BVAP.
White explained that there were also some slight changes in Hinds County, but they had to find people that would equalize the other congressional districts. He stated that with the changes in Hinds County and Adams, Wilkinson, Franklin, and Amite Counties, it would level District 2 with Districts 1,3, and 4.
District 4 would lose Marion County and four precincts in Jones County, as well as no longer take in portions of Clarke County. Those areas would move to District 3.
House Democratic Leader Rep. Robert Johnson rose to offer an amendment, putting forth the NAACP redistricting plan that did not move the four southernmost counties into District 2 but rather took in more of Hinds and Madison Counties. Johnson said his concern was over compactness of the districts, making the case that the “Magnolia 1” plan means District 2 would span nearly half of the state, some 40 counties and hundreds of miles making it hard for a congressman to properly represent that area.
Johnson’s amendment failed, allowing Rep. White to then call for passage of the “Magnolia 1” that passed the House Rules Committee unanimously on Wednesday.
On final passage, Representatives Tom Miles (D), Omeria Scott (D), Tracy Arnold (R) and Mac Huddleston (R) did not cast a vote.
Democratic Rep. Shanda Yates voted for the bill while Republican Rep. Sam Mims and Independent Rep. Angela Cockerham opposed it.
As to her vote, Rep. Yates told Y’all Politics she voted for what her constituents wanted.
“I voted for the plan because it kept my legislative district within congressional district 3. Many of my constituents were vocal about wanting that. I represent them. I voted for them,” Yates said.
The House Democratic Caucus issued a release following the vote, quoting Johnson and calling for more public opportunity to review and comment on the plan despite the fact that multiple meetings were held across the state prior to the plan’s drawing and that all hearings were livestreamed and open to the public.
State Rep. Zakiya Summers (D) raised the tenor further, saying, “Today’s vote juxtaposed to the 1-year anniversary of the Capitol attack shows a peril democracy. We must do all that we can to protect it.”
Today’s vote juxtaposed to the 1-year anniversary of the Capitol attack shows a peril democracy. We must do all that we can to protect it. https://t.co/VJos4XrZrP
— Rep. Zakiya Summers (@zakiyasummers) January 6, 2022
The bill as passed by the House now goes to the Mississippi Senate for consideration. That chamber gaveled out at 9am Thursday morning and will not return until Monday at 4pm. It is expected to pass the Senate when it is considered as a similar Congressional Redistricting bill passed the Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday as well.
Members have expressed an urgency to get this bill finalized as qualifying for 2022 Congressional midterms is currently underway.