Redistricting plan passes House | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Redistricting plan passes House

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 10:14 AM

The House voted 53-46 this afternoon to adopt the Democratic Party congressional redistricting plan that moves Fayetteville from the 3rd to the 4th District. The vote followed a debate taken up mostly by opponents bemoaning the move of Fayetteville. But some 250,000 people will move to new districts because of population changes, a fact that seemed to escape most.

Opponents called for a sounding of the ballot to insure all members who voted for the bill were in their seats. One vote was struck, making the final count 52-46. Fayetteville Rep. Greg Leding voted for the proposal despite a furious pressure campaign (mostly from special interests he beat in an election battle last year.)

Earlier in the day, a Senate committee defeated a Democratic plan identical to the one approved later in the House and a Republican plan by Sen. Johnny Key. Key's plan moved several counties, notably Garland to the 2nd and Sebastian to the 3rd, but this somehow doesn't qualify as a gerrymander in Republican eyes like moving Fayetteville does. The committee wasn't expected to approve anything because it is split 4-4 on partisan lines.

Here's Republican Key's Republican-friendly plan.

The stage is now set for the big question: Senate passage. A majority vote can pull a redistricting bill from Senate committee. But this is an extraordinary step. And 24 votes would be required for immediate consideration. Otherwise, a two-day delay, beyond scheduled recess Friday, would be required. That means the 14 Senate Republicans can block immediate consideration, barring a compromise of some sort. The Senate could reconvene between now and adjournment April 27 to complete action on a redistricting bill. Talk continues of some kind of arrangement to persuade Republicans to allow a vote today or tomorrow.

Note: This item significantly rewrites my earlier post on the topic.

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