The Alabama Senate approved 25 new legislative districts on Thursday.
The planned passed 25-7, after lengthy debate where Black Caucus Democrats objected and required the bill to be fully read.
“It has smidgens of Jim Crow,” Birmingham-Democrat Sen. Rodger Smitherman said of the new plans which greatly affect Jefferson County. According to Smitherman, Republicans would maintain control of Jefferson County, home to the majority black city of Birmingham, which is precisely why the maps needed to be redrawn in the first place.
But Chairman of the Legislative Reapportionment Committee, Lineville-Republican, Sen. Gerald Dial disagrees.
“We have a plan we think we can fully support through the legal process,” Dial said.
The Legislature was tasked with drawing new district plans following a January decision from a three-judge federal court found the Legislature improperly used race as the primary factor in drawing nine House districts and three Senate districts in 2012.
The court ruled the 12 districts in question could not be used in the 2018 elections. Tweaking the lines of those 12 districts affected the other 13 districts across the state.
The plans move to the House for consideration, which could come as early as Tuesday.