LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The General Assembly has voted on a map for Governor Asa Hutchinson to sign.
Representative Nelda Speaks’ map passed out of the Senate on Thursday morning.
Her map brings down the number of split counties from five to two. Sebastian county will be part of District 3 and District 4.
Pulaski County will be split into three different congressional districts (1, 2, & 4).
The debate was brief on Thursday but the mirroring Senate version of the map (SB743) was brought up in the House on Thursday.
Representatives Joy Springer and Fred Love spoke against the maps saying Little Rock was being split down racial boundaries. Rep. Love insisted it was not intentional the lines were drawn that way but did ask members to consider the impact it would have if voted on. Rep. Love said the minority votes in Little Rock would be disenfranchised because of the splits being proposed.
The bill passed out of the House with a 53-35 vote and is now being sent to the Governor’s desk for action.
The Governor issued a statement on the map saying “I will review and make a decision next week.”
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. released the following statement on the Arkansas General Assembly’s plans to split the city of Little Rock into two separate congressional districts and Pulaski County into three:
“I am deeply concerned about the gerrymandering along racial lines happening in our community, which was designed to dilute the voices of the residents of Little Rock. This plan sent to the Governor today for his signature separates the communities south of I-30 from the rest of the city, and those neighborhoods are predominantly Black and Hispanic. It is essential that we respect communities of interest in districting, and there is no more fundamental community of interest than a city like Little Rock. Additionally, it is illogical to split Arkansas’ capital city into two congressional districts. I am hopeful our state’s judicial system will correct this flawed attempt at redrawing the boundaries.
“Likewise, it is paramount that the redrawing of Little Rock’s ward lines be done with public input and with these other guiding principles: staying true to the legal requirements for redistricting (“one person, one vote,” compact and contiguous wards, respect for communities of interest, and the relevant provisions of the Voting Rights Act); developing a process that is transparent so that all of our community feels that this important work has been done fairly; eliminating I-630 as a dividing line in our community with an eye to crossing that barrier for wards through the heart of the City; and to the greatest degree possible, avoiding wards that are overwhelmingly single-race in their composition to enhance unity in our representation process.
“I invite Little Rock residents to share with me their ideas for new wards by emailing me at email@example.com<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>.”