Controversial redistricting plans approved by state legislature in final hours of session

Alabama State House

Despite objections, in the final 24 hours of the legislative session Alabama lawmakers approved controversial plans to draw new state district lines for voters.

The Legislature was tasked with drawing new district plans following a January decision from a three-judge federal court, which 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 other districts across the state, which democratic members of the Black Caucus claimed continued the state’s history of racial gerrymandering in order to maintain Republican dominance.

Nevertheless, after Democrats in both chambers tried to stall the votes and asked for the bill to be read aloud once more – a process that took more than 30 hours of combined reading time –  the chambers voted and passed the new plans.

Representatives approved the Senate districts plans in a 71-32 party line vote on Thursday night after the reading was finished.

Meanwhile, state senators waited through the marathon reading of the 541-page bill before they voted, 21 to 8, Friday afternoon to approve the new House district lines.

Both plans now head to Gov. Kay Ivey‘s desk for her signature. If she signs off on them, they will also be subject to federal court approval.