Second day of special redistricting session starts with calls for equality
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Before Senate members began their day inside the halls of the Capitol, a large group of equality advocates from different organizations gathered outside to share what they want to see from lawmakers.
“It’s one thing, you know for them to come into this state Capitol to do the policy work, but we also want to make sure that they are backed by real people that have real stories,” said Activist and Organizer Geno Mclaughlin.
Folks then piled into the building to listen in on the debates. Kimberley Jones is part of the CARE Neighborhood Association and all she want’s is a fair shake.
“As a female, veteran, person of color, and a person that’s disabled, I want to make sure that we have maps that have fair and equitable representation,” said Jones.
Right now, Louisiana only has one minority-majority district in its Congressional map. Folks today say, because the minority populations have grown a lot in the last couple years, another one needs to be added. Kimberley and her daughter drove all the way from Shreveport to be a part of the process.
“My daughter is presently homeschooled, so this is a civics field trip for her. So, she can actually see the process and not just read about it. She can be up front and a part of it,” Jones continued.
Word around the capitol suggests several members of the Legislative Black Caucus are willing to make a compromise. They will settle for a map that keeps only one Minority-Majority District in exchange for Republican support on a big Democrat bill in the regular session in March. Democrat Representative Patrick Jefferson says that could be a possibility.
“Well as you know in the political process you never say never, and all possibilities are on the table. At this point all things are possible but we’re doing all we can to ensure that we can get that second Congressional District”, said Rep. Jefferson.
Republican Representative Larry Bagley says based off what he’s seen so far, a second district would only be fair.
“I’m not sure how you’d speak against that, I’m not sure how you’d vote against that. So, I’m sure I’ll get the opportunity to vote one way or the other but yea I just think it’s fair it’s supposed to be representation. Again, that’s kinda how I look at it, we need to be fair and represent our folks,” Rep. Bagley added.
Lawmakers now have 19 days left to finalize the maps.
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