Race continues to dominate redistricting efforts - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Race continues to dominate redistricting efforts

By David Spunt - bio | email

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Should you chose your lawmakers, or should they be able to choose you? It's an honest question and the way things are going this week at the State Capitol, it's a question that is up in the air. Since the special session opened Sunday night, it's been about race the majority of the time.

Senator Rob Marionneaux told 9 News point blank that he's afraid of losing his seat. He says it would happen if the Senate forms a majority minority district in the river parishes. Majority minority districts are where the majority of the population is made up of minorities. The districts are required by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Marionneaux's current district stretches from north Point Coupee down to White Castle. Senate President Joel Chaisson proposed splitting Marionneaux's district, creating a new majority minority district encompassing the St. Gabriel area.

"While the creation of the new majority minority district along the river parishes helps to create the ability of the minority to elect a candidate of their choosing, doesn't it erode the candidates ability to choose in the 17th district?" Marionneaux said.

Marionneaux represents the 17th district and he's scared minority voters, who he calls his "base," will move to the new district.

"There has been a shift in the population, and if the shift presents an opportunity for another majority/minority district, then we owe it to the citizens to at least look at that," said Senate President Pro Tem Sharon Weston-Broome, a member of the Legislative Black Caucus.

The special session must be done by April 13th. It will then be sent to the United State Department of Justice for review.

Copyright 2011 WAFB. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly