Public Hearing on Legislative Redistricting Scheduled for Aug. 19 in Fulton Chapel
OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi is hosting a state Senate Elections Committee hearing on legislative redistricting Aug. 19.
The public is invited to attend and participate in the discussion, which begins at 6 p.m. in Fulton Chapel. A series of public meetings across the state are designed to culminate in mid-March with the passage of a legislative redistricting plan. The Legislature is required to redraw boundaries of the districts of its 174 members before the next round of state elections in 2011.
“The University of Mississippi is glad to host a hearing of this significance,” said Andrew Mullins, UM chief of staff to the chancellor. “We always like to bring real-world politics to campus and facilitate discussion of important issues affecting Mississippians.”
The meeting is to be co-chaired by House Apportionment and Elections Chair Tommy Reynolds (D-Water Valley) and Senate Elections Chair Terry Burton (R-Newton). Audience members will be able to address committee members from the floor.
“We want input from the general public on what they believe they need in their particular area in districts for the House and Senate,” Burton said.
President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress are scheduled to get new census numbers by Dec. 31, and states get their individual breakdowns by March 1. But four states, including Mississippi, will have legislative elections later in the year, so the goal for federal officials is to get numbers for Mississippi and those other three states, including Louisiana, by the middle of February.
“They have committed to get the numbers to us early,” Reynolds said. “We will be in the fast track.”
After the Mississippi Legislature adopts its redistricting plan, federal law requires approval by the U.S. Justice Department. Federal law also requires that the number of majority black districts must be protected. All this must be done by June 1, which is the qualifying deadline for candidates wanting to run for legislative seats.
For more information about the hearings, visit http://www.poten.com/NewsDetails.aspx?id=10535679./