MONTGOMERY — House and Senate Republicans will attempt to find a compromise between two competing redistricting plans after different maps passed each chamber on Wednesday.
Copies of both plans passed by the House and Senate on Wednesday can be viewed here.
"There is a good chance this goes to conference," House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) told 1819 News on Wednesday. "We've been working closely with Senate leadership on reaching an agreement on the maps and we feel confident that we can have a solid compromise before we leave here Friday."
A conference committee is made up of six members, two Republicans and one Democrat each from both the House and Senate, who meet to try to come to an agreement on a bill if both chambers don't initially agree on how to proceed.
Members of the Alabama House passed a redistricting plan sponsored by House Pro-Tem Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) on Wednesday. The Community of Interest plan passed by a margin of 74-27 after hours of questioning of Pringle by Democrats in opposition to the map. 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%. The white population would be 48.51% in the district under the plan. The district's seat is currently held by U.S. Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise). The seventh congressional district would have a 39.79%/52.15% black/white split under the plan.
The Senate passed an amended version of the Community of Interest Plan by State Sen. Steve Livingston (R-Scottsboro) on Wednesday by a 24-8 margin that features a second congressional district with an approximately 38% black voting age population.
"The committee got some information that led them to compactness and community of interest being as important as the black voting age population so with that we got the map that we thought was a really good community of interest argument and compactness argument that beats the other plans out there," Livingston said on Wednesday.
Livingston said there would have to be a compromise between the House and Senate on the different maps.
"There will be a new map worked on (Thursday) I'd expect," Livingston said.
Democrats oppose both plans because they say neither plan has a high enough black voting-age population in the second congressional district to elect two minority representatives to Congress in Alabama.
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 majority-black congressional district or a district with a high enough black voting age population where a minority representative could possibly be elected.
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).
To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email caleb.taylor@1819News.com.
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