Redistricting drama continues at state capital

By Karrie Leggett - bio | email

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Mississippi Legislature is now dealing with a new problem to add to the worsening redistricting stalemate.

"We all know there is a federal lawsuit that has been filed in Jackson by the NAACP over the whole redistricting issue," said Senator Joey Fillingane of Lamar County Monday.

According to Fillingane, the lawsuit is ill-considered and just another stumbling block pertaining to drawing new district lines, particularly in district 44.

"Most of us think that lawsuit at this point a least is premature, because there are still some provision in our constitution that does not require us to even do this redistricting until next year. There are some other provisions for if we don't come together on a plan at first the Governor can call us into special session to address it," said Fillingane.

At the heart of the NAACP lawsuit are appointments of the conference committee for the senate. Fillingane says Lt. Governor Phil Bryant appointed Senator Terry Burton, Senator Billy Hewes and Senator Chris McDaniel, three white republicans. But Billy McCoy is refusing to take part in appointing three from the house.

"And I think you would probably see three Democrats from the house if he ever got around to appointing them," said Fillingane.

Fillingane said if there the continued gridlock could be expensive.

"No one that I talked to in the legislature relishes the idea of running twice it is very expensive for us individually and the taxpayers," he said. "Not as expensive as some made it our to be, because we will be having a federal election in 2012 for president, senate and congress people anyhow. So, there will be an election whether we are on that ballot of not," said Fillingane.

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