State Senate and House continue to stall on redistricting debates
BATON ROUGE - Lawmakers have very little to show for the special session to re-draw Louisiana's Congressional districts as two plans to satisfy a federal judge's order to create a second majority-minority district were rejected today.
This goes against what federal judge Shelly Dick told Louisiana lawmakers to do. The judge does not understand what is taking the legislature so long.
The session is supposed to end Monday, but both sides remain unwilling to budge on their viewpoints.
Republicans like Sharon Hewitt say the map as it is drawn is fine.
"I do believe the map we already passed, we have done the right thing, and I believe it is a good map," Hewitt said.
However, Democrats like Representative Royce Duplessis, have the opposite view.
"I think the current map we have is on the wrong side of the law and is on the wrong side of history," Duplessis said.
Hewitt says this session is difficult because of balancing race and a need to comply with court orders.
"This is also complicated with trying to thread the needle with the voting rights acts and the 14th amendment," Hewitt said.
Duplessis says there is no need for a federal judge to take action.
"We can be better, we have shown that we have not been better, but I think we can be better by simply doing the right thing and not always having to be forced to do the right thing," Duplessis said.
After debate on both the Senate and the House later Friday afternoon, Senate Bill Three remains viable.
Sources told WBRZ that there was frustration on the House floor and some members of the Black Legislative Caucus walked out.
State Senator Cleo Fields, who is also a part of the Black Legislative Caucus, told WBRZ there was no protest but did confirm frustration.
Fields says debates will continue tomorrow on the Senate Floor on the viable senate bill.
"Senate Bill Three is the only instrument that is viable at this point and we will act upon it tomorrow one way or another," Fields said.
The bill was written by Republican Rick Ward. It does have two majority-Black districts.
If Senate Bill Three is passed by the Senate, it will move to the House.
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