BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — State lawmakers are continuing their road trip, looking for public input on how legislative maps should be redrawn. This week Lafayette residents will get their chance to share how the redistricting process should go.
The population of Louisiana is growing vastly slower than other southeastern states. But what is changing is how the more diverse population is moving to the I-10/I-12 line. With the shrinking cities in the north, that could mean a loss of representation at the Capitol.
“We are never receiving fair representation, as far as to the state level, and my concern tonight is that when they draw the lines to think about the fact that we have four and we narrow it down to two,” Belinda Rose of Shreveport said.
Legislators in the Baton Rouge area have already begun talks about getting more minority-majority districts. With such a diverse state, minority groups are fighting to have a voice on school boards, in the state legislature, and in the state Supreme Court.
“Some of the minority citizens in northern Louisiana would like to see more minority districts,” Sen. Sharon Hewitt said.
There have been over 200 people at the first couple of meetings, according to Sen. Hewitt. Some states have already faced legal challenges to their maps. She said legislators will do their best to reflect the public’s wants in the maps.
“That’s where the legislature will have to do the tough job of taking all the input and trying to accommodate as many of the interests and the issues as we can, and of course do everything according to state and federal law,” Sen. Hewitt said.
The districts must have a certain number of people and follow geographic lines within reason. Some parts of the state could lose representatives while some may lose parts of their districts.
“Some parishes like the idea of perhaps having four different senators with a part of their parish. Some parishes would prefer to have one primary senator as their go-to person and so everyone kind of has some different ideas,” Sen. Hewitt said.
The maps will be debated in the legislature in February 2022.
The next meeting will take place in Alexandria on Nov. 9. All the meetings are recorded and streamed on the state legislature website.