Under federal law, following each decennial census and prior to the next election in each state, all electoral districts must be redrawn to reflect changes in population. The newly drawn districts must then be approved the United States Department of Justice prior to implementation.
At the various hearings around the state, the committee will show current district maps with the new Census population figures for current districts and discuss which districts no longer meet population guidelines. It is important for the public to participate in these meetings and make their opinions known so that the committees may consider public input as plans are drafted and discussed.
All meetings will be streamed live over the Internet, and comments and questions can be submitted at http://house.louisiana.gov/H_Redistricting2011/.
Lawmakers anticipate holding a Special Session of the Legislature beginning in March, prior to the Regular Fiscal Session that begins April 25, to hammer-out the details of the new districts and submit the new maps to the Justice Department. Significant shifts in existing boundaries are expected due to a loss in population over the last 10 years and a shift of residents to different communities following Hurricanes Rita and Katrina in 2005.
Qualifying for the Fall 2011 elections will take place on Sept. 6, so the Committee and the Legislature as a whole are under significant time constraints. Congressional and legislative districts, in addition to districts for the Public Service Commission and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education must all be redrawn.
The first public hearing will be held in West St. Tammany on Feb. 17 at 10 a.m. A schedule of additional hearings is below.
SCHEDULE OF REDISTRICTING MEETINGS 2011
|February|| || |
|Thursday, 17th||10:00 a.m.||Northshore (Covington or Mandeville)|
|Thursday, 17th||6:00 p.m.||New Orleans|
|Monday, 21st||10:00 a.m.||Houma|
|Monday, 21st||6:00 p.m.||Baton Rouge|
|Tuesday, 22nd||10:00 a.m.||Lake Charles|
|Tuesday, 22nd||6:00 p.m.||Lafayette|
|Monday, 28th||6:00 p.m.||Shreveport|
|Tuesday, 1st||10:00 a.m.||Monroe|
|Tuesday, 1st||6:00 p.m.||Alexandria|