Congressional districts to be tackled during special session
Published 12:00 am Monday, August 7, 2000
In about three weeks, legislators are likely to head to Montgomery for the second special session of the summer.
Legislators still have to face the issue of drawing district lines for the state’s seven congressional districts.
According to rumors in Montgomery, the special session will begin on Aug. 27, but there has been no official word from Gov. Don Siegelman as to when the Alabama Legislature will convene to deal with the congressional districts.
Although there is a hefty Democratic majority in both the Alabama House and Senate, that’s not so when it comes to United States House of Representatives.
Democrats are looking to take the six seats they need to win control of the Republican-strong House for the first time in eight years. The U.S. Senate has a Democratic majority.
Alabama is one of few states that has both a Democratic-majority Legislature ­ that can redraw lines as it wishes as long as the U.S. Justice Department approves ­ and a Democratic governor.
That makes the stakes much higher for congressmen, especially those in the GOP.
Alabama’s seven congressional seats are held by five Republicans and two Democrats.
One of those seats will be up for grabs since U.S. Rep. Bob Riley, R-Ashland, is running for governor. Another tempting target for Democrats is the Second Congressional District, which includes Pike County.
"While I cannot predict the outcome of the legislature’s efforts, I am hopeful that the final decision will preserve the geographical and economic integrity of the current Second District," said U.S. Rep. Terry Everett, R-Enterprise.
His preference is to follow the bipartisan redistricting plan on which all seven members of the Alabama congressional delegation have already put their stamp of approval.
"The residents of the Montgomery area and Southeast Alabama have much in common and would certainly be best served by remaining joined together in one congressional district," Everett said.
Although some districts may see some more dramatic changes, Everett believes his will remain relatively intact.
Results of the 2000 census showed increases in population in a number of Alabama congressional districts, including the Second.
"The Alabama legislature has been tasked with the responsibility of drawing the new district lines to reflect these changes," said the congressman whose district could face some hard hits during the upcoming special session.