BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — After hours of debate, the Senate committee made no headway in deciding if one of two bills would head to the House floor. It’s day two of a special session called by Governor John Bel Edwards to redraw Louisiana congressional maps.

SB1 sponsored by Senator Cleo Fields would create a majority Black district. He argued that his map would fall in line with the Voting Rights Act that was challenged by State Senator Barry Milligan. 

“I need somebody to explain to me in this body how the current map and the map that has been drawn and approved does not allow does not allow for representation, the right to vote or the right to run, of any minority inside those districts,” said Milligan.

“SB1 is more compact than any bill that has been introduced and is more compact than the bill that’s being debated in court as we speak and it has lower population deviations,” said Jared Evans with the Legal Defense Fund.  

A request by Louisiana legislative leaders to extend the deadline for completing a new congressional map that must include a second majority-Black district was rejected by a federal judge. Milligan like many others argued that the special six-day session is not enough time to do what is being asked.

“Let me be clear, I don’t think we should try, I think we should do what the federal court has ordered us to do,” said State Senator Cleo Fields.

After much back and forth, the committee voted to amend SB1 and table the bill for Friday. While time is ticking, lawmakers will debate four options in front of the House committee Friday. They have until June 20th to re-map the political boundaries under court order and create a second majority Black district.

“The Black population in this state is high, very high, 83 percent of the congressional representation is white, I think that’s wrong,” said Senator Fields.

“This committee has never had an opportunity to vet this bill in committee,” said State Senator Sharon Hewitt.

The legislature and Gov. John Bel Edwards have been fighting over the boundaries since February when lawmakers approved a congressional map with white majorities in five of six districts.