By CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Committees in the Alabama House and Senate approved the four bills containing new congressional, state board of education and state House and Senate districts Tuesday, readying them for final passage on Wednesday.
Each of the bills cleared committees without changes to the district maps. Some Senators attempted to make changes to the congressional map in the Senate General Fund budget committee, but were ultimately unsuccessful.
Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, offered up a new congressional map that would create a second majority-Black district in the state, but his proposal was voted down by the committee.
House Democrats continued to voice their concerns over keeping counties whole, especially in Jefferson County which is split among three state board of education districts and seven Senate districts.
Rep. Chris Pringle, R-Mobile, continued to defend the splits saying the map makers’ goal has always been to reach the least possible deviation in population between districts to ensure equal representation.
“In order to get the deviations down you have to go to population centers to get the population,” Pringle said. “It’s about one man, one vote.”
During a public hearing in the House committee, Felicia Scalzetti, an organizer with Alabama Election Protection Network, said the proposed Senate map only left two competitive districts in the state.
“The fewer competitive districts you have the less actual voice that any resident has in electing their representative and it makes the primaries the election date,” Scalzetti said.
Pringle said after the committee meeting that he does not expect any changes to the House map in the Senate tomorrow, nor any changes to Senate map during House debate.
All of the maps are likely to pass in the Republican-controlled Legislature. How quickly that happens depends on whether or not lawmakers request for the massive bills to be read at length or if anti-vaccine mandate legislation also moving through the Legislature slows down the process.
The Senate will convene at 9:30 a.m. and the House at 1 p.m. Wednesday.