Phil Bryant addresses redistricting in Hattiesburg - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Phil Bryant addresses redistricting in Hattiesburg

HATTIESBURG, MS. (WDAM) - Mississippi's Lieutenant Governor, Phil Bryant, sounded off on redistricting on Wednesday while campaigning for the state's top job in Hattiesburg.

Bryant said for too long Mississippi lawmakers have used redistricting as an opportunity to gerrymander the state's district lines for political gain. He said the issue will likely go to a federal panel of judges.

"And a three judge panel will deliver fairness. They don't care about political opponents, they don't care about political opportunities, they only care about the constitution I believe and what the plans should look like. And I think all of Mississippi can live with that," said Bryant.

A three judge federal panel was appointed recently to consider a lawsuit filed by the NAACP over the redistricting issue in Mississippi. The suit seeks to stop elections in the state's current legislative districts. Those districts must be updated every ten years in accordance with the latest census figures.

The federal panel was appointed by the chief judge for the fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. The latest session of the state legislature was unable to come up with a new redistricting plan acceptable to lawmakers.

If the federal panel rules against the NAACP, the 2011 elections will likely be held according to the state's current legislative lines.

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