On June 7, 2022, Gov. John Bel Edwards called a special session of Louisiana’s Legislature to redraw Louisiana’s Congressional district maps with two majority Black districts, as required by a ruling of the U.S. Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. The Special Session began on June 15, 2022 and was to adjourn by 6 p.m. on June 20, 2022. Click here to read the Governor’s special session call. Lawmakers were unable to meet a federal judge’s June 20th deadline for a new congressional map that included a second majority-Black district. Judge Shelly Dick has asked for ideas for new maps from both sides of the case and indicated she will draw the next congressional lines at the end of the month. Because the state’s Black population is 33%, the judge and governor, along with civil rights groups and Democratic lawmakers, believe there should be two majority-Black districts in Louisiana, rather than one. To read more of Jeremy Alford’s article in LA Politics, click here.
The Public Affairs Research Council also gave take on the recent special session:
Second special session on redistricting fails to draw new map, despite federal judge’s order
On Monday, June 20, 2022, Rep. Royce Duplessis (D), who serves District 93 and is Vice Chair of the House and Governmental Affairs committee, addressed the Press Club of Baton Rouge to speak about the redistricting special session.
The Legislature will be convening a Veto Session on Wednesday, March 30, 2022 to address Gov. Edwards’ veto of the congressional redistricting plan. Final adjournment must occur no later than Sunday, April 3, 2022. The Regular Session will be paused during this time period; therefore, no regular session bills will be addressed for the remainder of this week.
Lawmakers must decide what to do with their veto session ballots by March 25th. If lawmakers decide to hold the session, an override vote would be scheduled for March 30, 2022. State lawmakers have to decide if there are enough Republican votes to override Edwards’ veto of the congressional districts. A failure to override could lead the parties and interest groups to take the issue to the court system. Many believe this will end up being resolved in litigation and will likely be decided by the federal court system.
The deadline for Democratic Gov. Edwards to sign or veto the legislation from the February 2022 redistricting special session is looming. If he vetoes, then the legislative session could include an effort to override Edwards’ refusal. The U.S. Supreme Court recently gave a slight victory to Democratic challengers of Republican-drawn congressional maps in North Carolina and Pennsylvania by refusing to overturn lower court rulings, thereby allowing alternative maps that favor a few more Democratic candidates. Just as many people are predicting, Louisiana’s redrawn election maps also are likely to be decided in court.
The special session officially ended at the state capitol last week, with all district maps moving to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ desk, with the exception of state Supreme Court maps, which neither Chamber successfully passed. They will likely take that mapping effort up again in the regular session beginning in March.
The House voted 65-31 to pass the state Senate map, which maintains 11 majority-minority districts out of 39 total districts. It will also split Rapides Parish into six districts, which has been a controversial point throughout the session.
The Senate gave final passage to the state House map with a 25-11 vote, which will maintain 29 majority-minority districts out of 105. Those opposed to the map say there should be 33 majority-minority districts for House seats since the population of the state is 33% Black. The map will also move District 28, represented by term-limited Rep. Kenny Cox, from Natchitoches Parish to New Orleans. This means District 25 will pick up most of the population in District 23, as well as reach into Rapides Parish.
With no controversy, the Legislature also approved new maps for the five-member Public Service Commission and for the eight elected seats of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Republicans will keep their numerical advantage in both of those institutions.
Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, has 20 days to sign, veto or allow the legislation to become law without his signature. An Edwards veto would invite an override attempt that would take place during the upcoming regular legislative session that begins on March 14. The Republican leadership would need to reach the two-thirds threshold – 70 in the House, 26 in the Senate – to override the governor on any veto.
Voting rights groups are expected to challenge the maps in court if they become law.
The Louisiana Legislature is scheduled to hold a special session to discuss political redistricting beginning at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, February 1, 2022 to adjourn no later than 6:00 pm on Sunday, February 20, 2022. The 2020 United States Census results reveal that Louisiana’s population has grown 2.74% from 2010 – 2020, a gain of over 124,000 people. Some parts of the state lost residents while other parts of the state gained residents. This means that political districts will have to be redrawn within the state.