State Rep. Barry Ivey, R-Baton Rouge, talks with colleagues in the Louisiana House of Representatives on Feb. 2, 2022. (Greg LaRose/Louisiana Illuminator)
An additional minority district would be added to the Louisiana Supreme Court in a proposal approved Monday in a state House committee. The proposal, offered by state Rep. Barry Ivey, R-Central, is the first such bill to advance during the Legislature’s special redistricting session.
The state supreme court consists of seven districts, only one of which currently has a majority of minority residents. Ivey’s bill would create a new minority district that starts north of Baton Rouge, moves up the Mississippi River, then heads west at the Arkansas state line to include Shreveport.
The Legislature is not required to redraw Louisiana Supreme Court districts, and lawmakers have passed on completing the task since 1997 when Census figures from six years earlier were used to fashion the boundaries.
Ivey referenced the redistricting in 1997 that was compelled through a federal court judgment. A similar case is currently pending that calls for a revision in the Louisiana Supreme Court boundaries. Ivey told the committee proposal, House Bill 22, could ward off such a legal challenge.
“This is an opportunity for Louisiana to show that we can do this ourselves and not have the federal courts potentially redraw our districts,” Ivey said.
The state Senate has already approved a bill to redistrict the Louisiana Supreme Court with one minority district, the existing one based in New Orleans. Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell, is the author of that proposal and has been resistant to efforts to add a second majority district.
Ivey said his map, other than the new minority District 2, keeps the remaining districts more compact when compared with Hewitt’s bill.
Another hurdle ahead of any supreme court redistricting bill is, unlike all other maps that need just a simple majority, two-thirds of lawmakers in each chamber have to approve it.
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