If the opinions of Gov. Bobby Jindal and the U.S. Justice Department fall in line with the wishes of House and Senate leaders, Baton Rouge’s legislative representation will grow by five members. The Capital Region Legislative Delegation will actually see its membership boosted from 26 to 30. The difference is four seats because the delegation is losing a member in Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa. His district is scheduled to pan further north and out of St. Helena Parish, considered part of the nine-parish metro region. Baton Rouge voters will choose three new state representatives this fall, including one from a majority black district. They will be joined by two new state senators: one in Baton Rouge, the other from a new majority black district that picks up portions of Ascension and West Baton Rouge parishes.
Dawn Starns, executive director of the Capital Region Legislative Delegation, says local lawmakers are just now coming to terms with how the metro area is slated to look after the 2011 election cycle. Starns says the delegation, which has represented the interests of nine parishes since 2008, is “upbeat about what its increased numbers mean for the overall strength of the delegation and its ability to advance its legislative agenda.”