Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rep. Bobby Moak (D - Bogue Chitto) questions Rep. Bill Denny (R - Jackson) about his map

Moak asks Denny what public hearings he's held regarding his map.  There was none.  Denny said he relied on the public hearings conducted in preparation of last year's House redistricting map.

Moak then asks Denny if we are under a court order to produce a map to the 3 judge panel from last year's redistricting case.  Denny says he thinks that any map passed by the Legislature would not go to the 3 judge panel, but instead to the Department of Justice.  Moak then asks Denny when the map was presented to the Legislature.  Denny says the plan "had been made and presented to experts for review."  Moak presses him, and Denny asks for clarification.  Denny finally admits that the plan was first presented to the Legislature as a whole today.  (This is important because of the statute that says the plan must be drawn 15 days prior to sine die, and also because the Justice Department is likely to put extra scrutiny on a map that doesn't get much deliberation.) Denny says that 110 members of the House gave input in the drawing of this map.  Then says probably over 110 members.

Moak ties Denny down to saying that the plan was presented to the committee at 8:30 a.m. last Friday morning.  Moak then gets Denny to admit that there were changes made to the map after it was presented to the committee on Friday.

Denny says the experts were the same ones who reviewed the maps in 2002, but has no idea what their names are.  He struggles for a minute or two, and then reads the names: Dr. Richard Engstrom, Dr. Jerry Webster, and Mr. Clark Benson.

Moak then asks if there was anyone who was not a state employee, retained counsel (Tommy Cardin of Butler Snow), or the experts named above who was involved in drawing the maps.  Denny says no, other than House members.

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