Arkansas lawmakers OK election map splitting Pulaski County
LITTLE ROCK. Ark. (AP) — Arkansas lawmakers sent Thursday’s plan for congressional redistricting to the governor. Critics claim that it weakens the influence and influence of minorities in Little Rock by splitting the state’s most populous region among three U.S. House district.
The measure divides parts of Pulaski county, which is heavily Democratic and includes Little Rock between the 1st to 4th congressional districts. The current county is in the 2nd district, which Democrats tried unsuccessfully in recent years to flip.
Republicans currently hold all four state U.S. House seats as well as a majority in both chambers the state Legislature.
Democrats criticized the plan to move predominantly Black and Hispanic precincts from the 2nd District, and accused Republicans of trying to make the GOP district redder. Arkansas is the only Confederate state to have not elected a Black member to the U.S. House. House.
” “It’s going disenfranchise African American community, regardless of what the intent is,” Rep. Fred Love, a Little Rock Democrat, stated before the House approved this measure.
The plan’s supporters argue that splitting Pulaski county makes sense due to its central location. It also helps limit the number of counties that are split up.
Opponents of splitting counties say it divides communities and their interests.
Sebastian County is the other county that has been included in the redistricting plan. This move was also opposed by Republican legislators in the region.
The state’s current map divides five counties.
” You’ve got to come up with the most equal distribution of congressional districts. After the vote, Republican Senator Jason Rapert, who chairs Senate State Agencies Committee, stated that this was accomplished. “Some will like, and some won’t. In this case, most in the body favors what we have.”
The Senate approved the bill on a 21-12 vote, while the House approved an identical measure 53-35.
Republican Governor. Asa Hutchinson stated that he is currently reviewing the redistricting plan and will decide next week whether or not to sign it. The governor has five days to sign or veto this bill, not counting Sunday.
On Wednesday Hutchinson warned that lawmakers shouldn’t dilute the influence or representation of racial minority in congressional districts.
Little Rock’s mayor criticized the map’s division of the capital city.
“I am concerned by the gerrymandering along race lines taking place in our community. This was done to silence the voices of Little Rock residents,” Mayor Frank Scott stated in a statement.
The redistricting process in the state is managed by Republicans. They won control of the Legislature 2012, and have held every statewide office since 2015..
Redistricting of the state’s 100 House and 35 Senate seats will be handled later this fall by the state Board of Apportionment. The panel includes the governor, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, and Secretary of State John Thurston all Republicans.