Monday, March 7, 2011

Senate plan garners unanimous support so far

In front of a packed committee room, the Senate Subcommittee of the Standing Joint Legislative Committee on Reapportionment passed its plan without opposition. Immediately following, the Standing Joint Legislative Committee on Reapportionment (comprised of both Senate and House members) unanimously approved the Senate plan.

This followed arm wrestling between Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant (R) and Sen. Terry Burton (R-Newton), chair of both the Subcommittee and Committee mentioned above. Bryant wished to, and perhaps still will, offer his own plan that does not include a majority-minority district in the Hattiesburg area. Sen. Burton, perhaps anticipating a battle over that issue, said that one of the recurring themes at redistricting town meetings across the state was the desire for the creation of a majority-minority Senate district in Hattiesburg.

When this battle moves to the Senate floor, the question will be this: can Phil Bryant change the votes of the 5 Republicans on the Reapportionment Committee? If not, the plan passed today will in all likelihood pass.

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