Selma to host redistricting meeting
Every 10 years, the process of redrawing voting districts begins once the results of the regular Census are completed. Earlier this year, the Alabama Legislature approved new Congressional and State School Board Districts to meet federal guidelines.
Now, the Permanent Legislative Committee on Reapportionment, a 22-member committee made up of Alabama Legislatures will take on a task that hits much closer to home.
After completing the Congressional redistricting, which saw significant shifts in a number of Congressional Districts, especially the one represented by Selma native U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), the committee will now tackle redrawing State House and State Senate districts.
As part of that process, the committee will hold a number of public hearings throughout the state to discuss redistricting options and show the public just what areas will be significantly affected.
One such public meeting will be held in Selma on Tuesday, Oct. 18 from noon to 2 p.m. at the St. James Hotel. The Selma meeting is just one of 21 meetings planned starting with the first one on Tuesday, Oct. 3 in Fort Payne.
The committee’s objective is to have a proposed plan that can be presented and ultimately approved by the Alabama Legislature when the next session begins in February. There is little doubt, though, with individual House and Senate districts being affected, there efforts to redistrict the state will be met with significant political pushback.
In fact, the make-up of the committee itself was criticized earlier this year ahead of the Congressional redistricting effort. Of the 22 members, made up of state senators and state representatives, 16 are Republicans while only six are Democrats.
“I do not believe it is a fairly composed committee,” State Sen. Hank Sanders (D-Selma) said in May. “I am not sure how previous committees have been broken up, but nearly 75 percent of the committee being Republican does not sound like a well composed committee.”
Todd Stacy, spokesperson for Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn), said at the time the process of selecting the committee members was “by the book” and “represented the make up of the current Alabama Legislature.”
“Both the Speaker and the Lieutenant Governor (Kay Ivey) appointed the members of the committee according to the guidelines,” Stacy said. “It is one of the few committee responsibilities that is outlined by the state’s constitution.”
According to Alabama Code, the committee must be made up of 22 members as follows: “one member of the House of Representatives from each congressional district, four members of the House of Representatives at-large to be appointed by the Speaker of the House and one member of the Senate from each congressional district, four members of the Senate at-large, to be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor.”