ATLANTA – Rep. Roger Lane (R-Darien), Chairman of the House Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Committee, today released a proposed redistricting plan for the Georgia House of Representatives. The proposed plan is available on the Joint Reapportionment Office Website, http://www.legis.ga.gov, Joint Offices, Reapportionment, by clicking this link, or by following this web address: http://www.legis.ga.gov/Joint/reapportionment/en-US/default.aspx
The plan was drafted by House Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Committee Chairman Roger Lane through an open process that included meetings with local delegations of Republicans and Democrats to review each area of the state. The plan meets all the guidelines adopted by the House Committee in a bipartisan, unanimous vote on July 20. The plan:
· Complies with the US Constitution’s requirement of “one person, one vote”;
· Complies with the Voting Rights Act of 1965;
· Complies with the Georgia Constitution;
· Respects the boundaries of counties and precincts;
· Consists of compact districts;
· Respects communities of interest; and
· Avoids the unnecessary pairing of incumbents.
The plan for the 180 House seats splits only 72 of Georgia’s 159 counties, fewer than the plan drafted by the federal court in 2004, which split 77. In contrast, the 2001 plan split 80 counties. The use of multi-member districts in 2001 reduced the total number of House districts from 180 to 147.
The 2001 plan paired 37 of the 74 Republican incumbents, 9 Democrats and 1 Independent. In contrast, the plan released today contains only ten pairings. Both Republicans and Democrats are paired but only when required by population shifts or compliance with the Voting Rights Act. The 10 incumbent pairings, six with two Democrats paired and four with two Republicans paired, are:
1. Ely Dobbs (D-Atlanta) and Sheila Jones (D-Atlanta)
2. Pat Gardner (D-Atlanta) and Rashad Taylor (D-Atlanta)
3. Simone Bell (D-Atlanta) and Ralph Long (D-Atlanta)
4. Stephanie Benfield (D-Atlanta) and Howard Mosby (D-Atlanta)
5. Elena Parent (D-Atlanta) and Scott Holcomb (D-Atlanta)
6. Mack Jackson (D-Sandersville) and Sistie Hudson (D-Sparta)
7. Gerald Greene (R-Cuthbert) and Bob Hanner (R-Parrott)
8. Darlene Taylor (R-Thomasville) and Gene Maddox (R-Cairo)
9. Chuck Sims (R-Ambrose) and Tommy Smith (R-Nicholls)
10. Mark Hatfield (R-Waycross) and Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine)
“Chairman Lane has drawn a map that is fair to all Georgians,” said House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge). “By releasing this plan before the session, Republicans have fulfilled the commitment to draw maps in a fair, open, and transparent process that is completely different from the Democratic games in 2001.”
“It’s been tough putting this plan together, but we’ve created a plan that does a great job of representing all Georgians and complying with all legal requirements,” said Rep. Roger Lane, chairman of the House Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Committee. “I’m proud of the plan that we’ve created together and look forward to a bipartisan vote in favor of this plan.”
In 2001, House leaders refused to share proposed plans with Republican legislators or the public until the special session was well underway. This time, nearly every Democratic legislator has reviewed the proposed changes to his or her district. Even more importantly, the plan has been released to the public in multiple formats, including a Google Earth layer, allowing the public to review the plan and offer input before or during the Special Session.
“Each of these pairings is necessitated by the Voting Rights Act and population shifts,” said Rep. Edward Lindsey (R-Atlanta). “The areas represented by these members lost population in relation to the growth in the rest of the state. For instance, of the 10 smallest districts by population, eight are inside the perimeter in metro Atlanta. South Georgia has similarly lost population.”
The special session to consider redistricting begins on Monday, August 15, and the House Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Committee will meet on Tuesday, August 16 to begin taking public comment on the proposed plan and any other plans proposed by other Representative.