Alabama lawmakers begin debate on new legislative, congressional district lines

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FILE – In this Dec. 14, 2010 file photo, members of the Alabama House of Representatives consider ethics legislation at the Statehouse in Montgomery, Ala. The House and Senate will go into regular session on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012. Lawmakers will hold 30 meeting days in 105 calendar days. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

MONTGOMERY, Ala (WIAT) — On Friday, Alabama lawmakers went back to work debating new state legislative and Congressional lines.

A House committee passed along party lines proposed district lines for state representatives and Alabama’s Congressional Districts.

The race to draw new lines began with delayed Census results needed to begin the process. In doing so, a handful of state legislative districts and the 7th Congressional district didn’t undergo a racial polarization study.

“If the requirements are to do a racial polarized study then we need to do that, instead of saying race is not an issue if we haven’t done the study that proves race is not an issue,” said Rep. Kelvin Lawrence, D-Hayneville.

But according to Republican Rep. Chris Pringle of Mobile, who co-chaired the Reapportionment committee, there simply wasn’t enough time to do those studies before the special session. He said they’re being done now and should be ready for lawmakers on Monday.

“You remember up until 5 o’clock last Friday we were still meeting with members. We are still meeting with members right now trying to adjust and tweak them as best we can,” Pringle said.

Pringle also defended how some districts, even for some republicans were re-drawn due to population and demographic shifts over the last 10 years.

“Because I’m going to be the one that has to sit in court and defend it. When you’re in court and you have to tell the truth, I’m going to do what I can to comply with the law,” he said.

The bills now head to the full House for debate and a possible vote on Monday.

Along with the House Legislative and Congressional districts, lawmakers also must approve new lines for the state senate and state school board.

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