They're calling it "the road show" — a series of joint meetings to be held at locations across the state by the two legislative committees charged with reapportioning legislative representation and redrawing district lines in the wake of the 2010 Census. The first two meetings of the House and Senate Governmental Affairs Committees will be held in the New Orleans area.
The first meeting begins at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 17, in the Fuhrmann Auditorium at the Greater Covington Center (317 N. Jefferson Ave., Covington). The second meeting starts at 6 p.m. that same day at Dillard University (2601 Gentilly Blvd., Professional Schools and Sciences Building, Georges Auditorium).
At each meeting, the committee will display current district maps for state legislative districts, Public Service Commission Districts, Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) districts, judicial districts and congressional districts. The displays also will contain 2010 Census population figures for each district, showing which districts no longer meet population guidelines and/or legal requirements.
The committees are seeking public input as new districting plans are drafted and discussed. All the joint meetings will be streamed live over the Internet and archived. In addition, comments and questions can be submitted via Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and other social media sites. Information about the social media sites is available at www.house.louisiana.gov/H_Redistricting2011. The site also includes up-to-date information on all aspects of the redistricting process.
A special session to adopt redistricting plans will convene March 20 and must end no later than April 13. With the annual legislative session set to begin April 25, lawmakers will have no time to waste. New districting plans must be submitted to the U. S. Justice Department for pre-approval under the Voting Rights Act; the department has at least 60 days to approve or reject the plan.
Qualifying for statewide and legislative offices begins Sept. 6. — Clancy DuBos