BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – This year Louisiana districts will be redrawn based on census data as they are every ten years. On Wednesday, the Committee on House and Governmental Affairs launched the start of taking in public input on what the rules should be for that process.
Members of the house of representatives were able to share their opinions on what the rules for the redistricting should be like. Once information from the census comes out later this summer, lawmakers will be traveling the state to hear more from the public.
The rules outline the laws and protective acts already in place. But there are some parts of the rules that are up for change. Some of the biggest debates around redistricting is how the districts should be drawn, whether it is on geography, population demographics, or another way.
“There are going to be some communities that are going to say… ‘I want to stay whole. In my community we define what our community is, we’re here to tell you what our community is, please keep us with one representative and one Senator.’ Then you’re going to find some communities who really kind of like the idea of having more Senators and more Representatives,” said Robert Travis Scott, President of Public Affairs Research Council.
Redistricting will decide which voters are in which districts and it could change the outcome of elections or even the supreme court representation. In public testimony, one man brought up some issues he’s seen in past redistricting.
“The line between House District 60 and House District 51 was drawn directly down the middle of Pierre Part and its community and why? It is separated by a bayou,” said Evan Bergeron, the General Counsel for Fair Districts Louisiana. “You had ward 8 on one side and ward 9 on the other side. That’s why this community of interest amendment was so important.”
This bill is just the start of the outline of the rules and will go through several amendments and discussions.
“I want to make sure everybody’s comfortable with the language, so we go forward in a transparent…fair process based on the numbers,” Representative John Stefanski said.
The website redist.legis.la.gov has been created for the public to see past redistricting and to learn about the public meetings later this year to help with that transparency.
The resolution still has to go over to the Senate side where they can make more changes and add more amendments as well.