Friday, March 11, 2011

As promised, more on the Bryan speech on the Senate floor yesterday

We followed the Senate redistricting debate live yesterday via Twitter, and remarked on Sen. Hob Bryan's (D-Amory) masterful speech. The limitations of Twitter, however, prohibited us from being able to show you the district comparisons that drew laughter and gasps from the floor over the Bryant plan. Let's look at what Sen. Bryan was discussing.

The fireworks started when Sen. Bryan mentioned that he'd overheard a fellow senator on talk radio complaining about the Burton plan for the Pine Belt, and how it had split four counties with one outrageously gerrymandered district that ran from the Pearl River County line north through the western portion of Lamar County, then through part of Forrest County, next through the heart of Covington County, and finally finishing its assault on the senses by amputating the northern half of Jefferson Davis County.  The caller was angry over this district, and said that he simply couldn't support the Burton plan due to such gerrymandering.  Sen. Bryan then placed Phil Bryant's plan for the Pine Belt on the screen:

Ummm, starts at Pearl River County line, check. Western portion of Lamar County, check. Part of Forrest County, check. Up through the middle of Covington County, check. Over to the northern half of...HEY WAIT A MINUTE!!! When that picture hit the screen, laughter erupted on the Senate floor, and Lt. Gov. Bryant looked physically ill.

Sen. Bryan then went on to speak about the Burton plan's treatment of the same area.  Here's District 41 under the Burton plan.  Notice how Jefferson Davis County is whole.

Then it came time to look at Lamar County under the Bryant plan.  Aside from the oddly-drawn district above, here's what Lamar County would have looked like under the Bryant plan (notice how this district goes into Forrest County):

And here's what Lamar County looks like under the Burton plan:

So, that's what sent the Bryant plan supporters scurrying for cover yesterday, leaving only 16 to stand by Bryant as the vote came down.

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