Mississippi House OKs Redistricting; Senators Debate Plan | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Mississippi House OKs Redistricting; Senators Debate Plan

The Mississippi House on Tuesday approved a plan to redraw its districts to account for population changes revealed by the 2020 Census. Photo by Trip Burns

The Mississippi House on Tuesday approved a plan to redraw its districts to account for population changes revealed by the 2020 Census. Photo by Trip Burns

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi House on Tuesday approved a plan to redraw its districts to account for population changes revealed by the 2020 Census.

Senators were debating their own redistricting proposal.

The House has 122 districts, and the Senate has 52. Republicans hold wide majorities in both chambers and the redistricting plans are unlikely to change that. The next elections for four-year terms are in November 2023.

Senate President Pro Tempore Dean Kirby of Pearl said the Senate redistricting plan keeps the same number of Republican-leaning and Democratic-leaning districts as now.

About 62% of Mississippi residents are white and about 36% are Black, according to the Census Bureau.

Historical voting patterns in Mississippi show districts with higher populations of white residents tend to lean toward Republicans and districts with higher populations of Black residents tend to lean toward Democrats.

Both chambers on Tuesday rejected amendments that would have created more majority-Black districts.

In the Senate, most of the territory now represented by Republican Sen. Melanie Sojourner of Natchez and Democratic Sen. Albert Butler of Port Gibson were combined into a single majority-Black district. Kirby said a new majority-white district was created in Rankin and Smith counties, near the Jackson metro area.

One of Sojourner's allies, Republican Sen. Chris McDaniel of Ellisville, pushed for an alternate plan to put Sojourner in a district with a larger percentage of white residents than the plan unveiled by Senate leaders Sunday.

In the House, districts now represented by Democratic Rep. Tommy Reynolds of Charleston and Republican Rep. Chris Brown of Nettleton are being absorbed into surrounding districts because their areas had stagnant population growth.

One new House district is being created in DeSoto County in the northwestern corner of the state, and one new one is being created in coastal Harrison County.

The Census showed the Delta had the largest population loss in Mississippi between 2010 and 2020.

DeSoto County continued its growth surge. Parts of northeastern Mississippi, the metro Jackson suburbs and coastal counties also gained population.

Because legislative redistricting is done through a resolution rather than a bill, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves will not have the power to sign or veto the plans.

Support our reporting -- Become a JFP VIP.

The news business has changed dramatically in the past two years, and we need your help more than ever to keep bringing you important stories about Jackson and the Metro. Become a JFP VIP with an annual membership or you can Sign up as a monthly supporter. Thanks for anything you can do to empower our journalism!

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

comments powered by Disqus