MONTGOMERY — Members of House and Senate committees advanced two redistricting maps on Tuesday morning.
Members of the House State Government Committee passed the Community of Interest Plan by State Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) that the reapportionment committee passed on Monday.
The plan keeps all of Mobile and Baldwin Counties in the first congressional district.
Pringle said on Monday the plan increases the second congressional district's black voting age population from 31.86% to 42.45%.
Members of the Senate Confirmations Committee passed an amended version of the Community Interest Plan by State Sen. Steve Livingston (R-Scottsboro) by an 11-5 margin that features a second congressional district with an approximately 38% black voting age population.
"This plan is based on neutral principles promoting communities of interest in the gulf, Black Belt, and the Wiregrass ensuring that the state's long-term principles of compact districts is given a fuller and fairer effect," Livingston said at the meeting. "While the plan is not graded based on race, the result is fairly applied with these neutral principles and the (black voting age population) in district two, which was in the existing map was like around 30%, is now 38.8% in this plan. District seven preserves a core which is 50.43% (black voting age population). This plan complies with the Voting Rights Act."
The plan was supported by every Republican on the Senate committee besides State Sen. Andrew Jones (R-Centre).
"I've heard from my locals in Etowah County," Jones said. "I haven't looked at the data, but I imagine for over 50 years or better they've been whole. Not only in this map do they get a new Congressman, that's fine. My district certainly has two congressmen at the moment, but it splits looks to be maybe 10% of the population out of the county which has historically been whole. My folks have been very clear that they want to stick together because they're kind of a regional hub."
Democrats on the committee opposed the plan because they said a 38% black voting-age population in the second congressional district wasn't a high enough percentage to elect a minority congressman.
Multiple other maps filed by Democrats didn't advance in either committee.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld with a 5-4 vote in June a lower court's decision to require the Alabama Legislature to redraw their congressional districts passed in 2021 to include a second largely or majority-black congressional district.
Alabama's seventh congressional district is currently the only majority-black congressional district in Alabama. It is held by U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham).
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