Lawmakers say they want to keep control of redistricting process in Louisiana

Redistricting summit (Source: WAFB)
Redistricting summit (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Lawmakers in Louisiana currently have control over the redistricting process, and it seems they have no interest in giving that power up.

LSU and an upstart organization called Fair Districts Louisiana held a summit Friday, aimed at exploring possible reforms to the way congressional and legislative boundaries are drawn in the Bayou State. For example, an independent commission could be brought in to direct the redistricting process.

Currently, state legislators have control of the map-making process (the governor can veto them). Many of the lawmakers who spoke on panels at the summit said they were okay with the current process.

"I am happy with the way it is right now, the legislative process. I do think people elected me to come and do a job and if they don't like the job I'm doing, I'll be un-elected," said Sen. Ed Price, D-Gonzales.

Several lawmakers argued it's impossible to take the politics out of politics, even if an independent commission was brought in.

"The question becomes who appoints? Is it going to be the governor? Is it going to be the legislature? Is it going to be the leadership of the House or the Senate?" said Sen. Ronnie Johns, R-Lake Charles. "There's always going to be some special interests in those appointments."

Lawmakers did pitch some ideas for possible ways to improve the process. For example, Rep. Tanner Magee, R-Houma, said district maps should be more readily available and clearer so the public can make sense of the redistricting decisions.

Rep. Walt Leger, D-New Orleans, called for the public to be engaged, while Rep. C. Denise Marcelle, D-Baton Rouge, said that while the legislative process is appropriate, it needs to be publicly transparent.

The next time the district lines get redrawn is after the 2020 census, about three years from now.

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