Redistricting shuffle continues UPDATE – Arkansas Occasions

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Not evident but.

Two Republicans, Rep. Jim Dotson and Sen.Breanne Davis, took a stab at a plan that appears primarily meant to maneuver Pope (together with Cleburne) into the 2nd District and take Saline out. This would go away Pulaski County intact within the 2nd. However Davis advised the Democrat-Gazette she could have one other plan with a well-liked Republican characteristic, carving up Pulaski County, the most important Democratic vote producer within the state.

Democratic Sen. Clarke Tucker tells me he’s engaged on a invoice to make some small changes in a plan defended yesterday by Republican Sen. Bart Hester because the fairest, most geographically smart plan. It passes out components of Pulaski to 3 congressional districts. Tucker says his plan would make modifications that would go away each county within the state complete in redistricting, however forestall gerrymandering of Pulaski. What could possibly be mistaken with that?

Fairly near Hester’s plan in shapes, however to maintain PUlaski complete, he’d transfer Garland, Saline, Grant, Dallas and Calhoun into the 4th District and he’d add Crittenden to the 2nd. No county divided. Some geographic sense to the district outlines. Isn’t that what Hester mentioned can be the perfect? He mentioned it couldn’t be achieved with out slicing Pulaski into three districts. It will probably.

UPDATE: Following is a information launch from the Delta Caucus decrying the Hester plan and endorsing Democratic Rep. Reginald Murdock’s plan for a Delta-to-Pulaski District. Brief remark: The caucus’ criticism and endorsement of the Murdock plan are exactly why the Republican legislature would like one over the opposite.

Redistricting plans equivalent to Senate Invoice 721 by Sen. Bart Hester (R-Cave Springs) are travesties of sound, conventional ideas for establishing Congressional districts and may rapidly be thrown into the dustbin of historical past the place they belong.

“Invoice 721 not solely splits Pulaski County into three components, however strikes a big half of the present Second District in Perry, Conway, Van Buren and Faulkner counties out of the Second, whereas including an enormous space in southeast Arkansas that has historically been an integral a part of the First or Fourth District,” mentioned Caucus Director Lee Powell mentioned.

The Delta Caucus companions consider {that a} sensible and honest different plan has been introduced by Rep. Reginald Murdock (D-Marianna), which doesn’t break up up Pulaski County and provides an enough voice and alternative for minorities in addition to different teams to elect a Member of Congress. Rep. Murdock mentioned his plan is “a chance for an individual of coloration, or a lady, or a Democrat, or a Republican to be elected within the Second District. ”

Arkansas’ inhabitants is about three quarters white and nearly 1 / 4 of the inhabitants are minorities of assorted varieties, so it’s honest and democratic to have a minimum of one district represented by a member of a minority. The Pulaski County proportion of Blacks at about 36% is far larger than the state-wide common.

The Hester plan and related plans are clearly designed primarily to have 4 Republicans elected to all of the Congressional districts in Arkansas.

Pulaski County is closely populated and is extra various than Arkansas as an entire, with state-wide figures indicating about 70% of the inhabitants being white, whereas in Pulaski County solely 49.9% of the individuals are white and 36% describe themselves as African American alone. “This can be a clear effort to dilute minority voting energy by breaking apart the closely populated, various jurisdiction of Pulaski County,” Powell mentioned.

“There has all the time been one Congressional district that’s predominantly a Delta district, with traits like being extra agricultural and rural, and being pretty various, however this plan would chop up the Delta into three districts and thus dilute our voting energy,” mentioned Harvey Joe Sanner, Delta Caucus senior adviser and president of the American Agriculture Motion of Arkansas.

This plan is equally inappropriate in shifting largely agricultural, small-town counties in southeast Arkansas out of the First District the place they’ve been for a few years. The place potential, sound redistricting ideas require that usually related areas be positioned collectively.

The Hester plan strikes the historically extra city Second District into the southeastern rural Arkansas Delta.

Powell recollects that he was amongst those that testified to the legislature after the 2010 Census, and “removed from gamesmanship, the traces had been then drawn on conventional ideas of not diluting minority voters, inserting related demographic areas collectively the place potential, and avoiding making wholesale gerrymander modifications to the districting map.”

The Delta Caucus defines the “Higher Delta Area” as together with Little Rock–particularly the various and lower-income neighborhoods within the metropolis–and lengthening eastward to the Mississippi River.

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