Monday, 16 May 2011 22:50

Louisiana Redistricting Plan Gets Negative National Attention

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   The redistricting plan adopted by the Legislature  for its state House districts has gained national attention – and not in a good way.
A broad coalition is urging the U.S. Justice Department to reject the plan, calling it discriminatory.
    The NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund (LDF), the National Urban League, the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, and the NAACP State Conference of Louisiana issued a joint letter urging the U.S. Attorney General to reject the redistricting plan for the Louisiana House of Representatives.


    John Payton, LDF’s President and Director-Counsel, noted that “The Voting Rights Act was designed to block precisely the kind of discrimination that arose during Louisiana’s redistricting process.”
    The plan increases the number of House minority districts from 27 to 29, but the aforementioned organizations say a 30th district – and possibly more – could have been created.
    The objection by the groups focuses mainly on the possible creation of an African-American district in Shreveport.  
    The House and Governmental Affairs Committee with a Republican majority approved a fourth majority-black district for Shreveport.  But some white  legislators, led by state Rep. Alan Seabaugh, R-Shreveport, with the help of state Rep. Barbara Norton, a black Democratic representative from Shreveport,  were successful in deleting the fourth black district on the House floor.
    Norton argued that a fourth majority-black district in Shreveport would have diluted the minority population in her district.
    In the letter sent to Justice by the groups, they pointed out that minority Shreveport districts would have ranged from 61.7% to 71.7%, enough to show a minority could be elected if a fourth district had been approved.
    House Speaker Jim Tucker, R-Algiers, said he is confident the plan will get Justice Department approval.  But if it doesn’t, plans are in place to make necessary modifications in the current session, which runs through June 23.
    According to the 2010 Census figures, 32% of Louisiana’s residents are black.  The House redistricting plan for 105 districts has 29 majority-blacks districts, which is 28%.  How that fact plays into the Justice Department consideration remains to be seen.


by Lou Gehrig Burnett, Publisher of Fax-Net (article first appeared on Fax-Net) FAX-NET UPDATE is published weekly and delivered to your home or office by fax or e-mail. Subscription rates are: $50 for 12 months (50 issues) or $35 for six months. To subscribe, send check or money order to: Fax-Net Update, P.O. Box 44522, Shreveport, LA 71134. If you have questions, tips or want to do a guest column, call 861-0552 or send e-mail to Lou Gehrig Burnett, Publisher.

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