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Governor-backed Congressional districting map passes from the Senate

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BATON ROUGE - At the Capitol, the Senate passed the first Congressional redistricting map, Senate Bill 8 by Senator Glen Womack, which was backed by Governor Jeff Landry.

It would add a second majority Black district in Louisiana, as was instructed by federal courts. The deadline for a new Congressional map is Jan. 31st. 

While the measure passed in the Senate 27-11, Republicans comprised the entire opposition. The proposal shifts District 6, which turns it into a majority-Black district. Senator Eddie Lambert from Ascension Parish, who voted against it, says the district would stretch too far across the state. 

"To drive that congressional district is probably four or five hours," Lambert said. "They look like shoestrings."

Lambert added that Ascension Parish, which he represents, is growing fast and needs adequate representation in Congress. Lambert says he hopes a better option for Ascension Parish emerges from the House of Representatives, where other maps are being proposed.

Representative C. Denise Marcelle initially put forward her own map, but Wednesday she moved to defer it, taking the bill out of the running. 

Marcelle added that in looking at Womack's bill, she's keeping in mind the representation of her community she hoped to accomplish with her own map. However, Marcelle admits the process of redrawing district maps has been tricky, saying some leaders are reluctant to have lines drawn through their own parishes. 

"Everybody is trying to protect someone," Marcelle said. "So really I believe that if Judge Shelly Dick would have drawn the map and kept the politics out of it, and the people out of it, and given us a fair map, we would have been better off."

Thursday, the map heads to the House and Governmental Affairs Committee. A separate map is also set to be voted on by the House.


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