While the subject hasn’t received a great deal of attention, the Alabama Legislature is in the process of redrawing the legislative district lines. While this is a most difficult task, it’s one that must be done. After the census every ten years, state lawmakers are required to draw new legislative and Congressional districts to reflect shifts in population, a process called redistricting. The new districts will determine who Alabamians elect to the state Legislature. It’s being predicted by a number of political insiders in Montgomery that the new maps will wind up in court once they are approved. Legislative redistricting is highly political and that should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the Alabama Legislature.
Republicans — who have overwhelming majorities in both chambers of the Alabama Legislature — have total control over the redistricting process. Based on a historical perspective, and the manner in which things have been run in both Houses so far, I don’t see much hope for a bi-partisan approach to this exercise. But in fairness, the Democratic majorities in past Legislatures have always taken full advantage of their positions of power.
Most observers believe it will require a special session to address redistricting and that it will be held before the end of the Regular Session. The Redistricting Committee should try to keep cities and counties as intact as possible. Nothing should be done that would weaken existing districts with high minority populations. We should all hope for fairness and equitable treatment for both the persons currently serving in the Legislature and, more importantly, for the people of Alabama. Is that too much to ask?
Source: Associated Press
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