During the regular and special sessions this year, state lawmakers have consistently rejected any and all efforts—both perceived and real—by outside parties to influence the 2021 redistricting process. The decennial task will take place in a special session next year following the release of U.S. census data, which will be used to redraw election lines based on updated populations.
The process begins in the House and Governmental Affairs Committee, which has so far rejected or ignored legislation from lawmakers seeking tweaks or enhancements. For example, Rep. Aimee Adatto Freeman, D-New Orleans, failed to gain traction in a meeting this week for her HCR14, to create a redistricting transparency website, and her HCR15, to form a redistricting advisory committee.
Rep. Charles Henry, R-Jefferson, speaking about HCR 14, seemed to take offense at any suggestion that transparency will need to be enhanced next year. His colleagues noted that the House and Senate last go-around hosted their own websites for redistricting, and that merging those pages would be an unneeded step, no matter how much new information would be mandated.
Rep. Foy Bryan Gadberry, R-West Monroe, was less impressed by HCR 15, which would have offered guidelines and suggestions to lawmakers via an independent task force. “You want to form a study group to study us?” he asked. “We are the study group for redistricting. To me that’s double dipping.”
They said it: “If I could pass a bill saying ‘follow the rules,’ I would.”—State Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge.