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|Committee agrees to put north Monroe in Little's district|
The House and Governmental Affairs Committee agreed on a 13-5 vote Friday morning to adopt an amendment that would put part of north Monroe in a House district that's currently represented by Rep. Sam Little, a Republican from Bastrop.
Rep. Kay Katz offered the amendment. Katz offered the amendment to undo part of House Speaker Jim Tucker's redistricting plan, which called for Katz's district, or District 16, to be divided among three House districts. Those districts included Little's District 14, District 17 represented by Rep. Rosalind Jones, D-Monroe, and a new minority district that would stretch from the Lamy Lane area in north Monroe to included Bastrop in Morehouse Parish. The new minority district includes the University of Louisiana-Monroe as well.
Katz, R-Monroe, is term-limited and cannot seek re-election this fall.
Areas affected by Katz's amendment include Monroe's Garden District, the Park Avenue/Pargoud Boulevard area, and elsewhere in north Monroe, which is commonly called the north side. Also, Katz's amendment put the area near and including CenturyLink's corporate headquarters, in Little's District 14. Under Tucker's redistricting bill, those areas would have been included in Jones' district.
Katz's amendment does not greatly affect the proposed new minority district for Ouachita and Morehouse parishes.
Though the House and Governmental Affairs Committee signed off on Katz's amendment, the full House must approve Tucker's redistricting plan, with Katz's amendment attached to it. The Senate must approve Tucker's plan, too. Any redistricting proposal approved by the Legislature must be signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal. At that point, the U.S. Department of Justice must agree to the state's plans to redraw legislative districts.
State legislative as well as congressional districts must be redrawn every 10 years following the Census.
The Justice Department's approval of the state's redistricting plans is necessary because Louisiana is one of a host of southern states that must ensure minority voters were not disenfranchised by the redistricting process.
State lawmakers convened a special legislative session Sunday to deal with redistricting. The special session must conclude no later than April 13.
Earlier this week, Katz offered her amendment to Tucker's redistricting plan. The amendment failed, with Little, Tucker and Rep. Bubba Chaney opposing it.
Katz reintroduced the amendment in question at a committee meeting late Thursday. The House and Governmental Affairs Committee adjourned before a vote could be taken on Katz's amendment.
Earlier Friday before her amendment was approved in committee, Katz noted the importance of the amendment was highlighted by its support.
"We have all three of the major Ouachita representatives supporting this amendment," said Katz.
When Katz reintroduced her amendment Thursday, she was joined at the table by Jones and by state Rep. Frank Hoffmann. Katz added that Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo also supports her efforts to place the north side Monroe in Little's district.
Little was the sole objection to Katz's amendment when it was reintroduced Thursday.