BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPRPUD) — The special redistricting session in the Louisiana Legislature has come to an end without a new map passed. Lawmakers could not come to an agreement on a map that creates two majority Black congressional districts as ordered by a federal court.
“I don’t know who is advising you but you’re proving the judge’s point,” Rep. Edmond Jordan, D-Baton Rouge, said.
The Middle District Court tasked the legislature with passing a map with two majority Black congressional districts since the map passed earlier in the year only had one.
Multiple maps were proposed on how to draw those two districts. But a majority of republicans in the two committees voted them down. Only one map, that was widely disliked on both sides, was pushed to the senate floor to attempt to continue the session. The map carried by out-going Sen. Rick Ward, R-Port Allen, was a last minute entry to give the legislators another option. It completely changed the congressional districts of the state.
“I don’t think that I found a single amendment that would get on, number one. Number two I don’t think I found a single amendment that if it did get on we would come anywhere near the 20 votes we needed to continue this process,” Sen. Ward said.
GOP leadership has said from the start of the special session that six days is too short to make such a major decision. They were denied by Judge Shelly Dick in the Middle District Court on Thursday from getting an extension. The judge went so far as to call the Speaker of the House disingenuous about his intentions for public transparency.
“The words that the judge had to say before giving her ruling, I think every member of this house should be embarrassed,” Rep. Jordan said.
Plus leadership wants to see how the 5th circuit court rules on the merits of the original map. The 5th Circuit Court has the trail for the merits of the map set for the first week of July.
“Any efforts on our side to move a bill through the process would inevitably end in failure because there is just flat out not enough time,” said Rep. John Stefanski, R-Crowley.
Democrats believed there was plenty of time. With maps very similar to what they brought in February they had hope of one passing. All democrats took to the house floor to give a speech despite the public live feed being cut before adjournment. Several members of the house had left the capitol before the final votes to end the session were even taken.
The Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus plans to turn their maps presented in the session over to the judge next week for consideration. The judge wants remedial maps turned in by June 22 and there will be a hearing on June 29 to hear the case of both sides of the different maps.