State redistribution will lead to changes in Baldwin
By Guy Busby, [email protected]
FAIRHOPE – Many residents of Baldwin County will be in new legislative districts following a statewide redistribution later this year, state officials said.
Every 10 years, the districts of the Legislative Assembly of Alabama, the United States Congress and the Alabama Board of Education are redrawn in the state to align the population counts with the changes recorded in the census, a said Sen. Jim McLendon, R-Springville.
McLendon, Chairman of the Senate Decoupage Committee, and Rep. Chris Pringle, R-Mobile, Chairman of the House Decoupage Committee, met with residents of Baldwin at Coastal Alabama Community College in Fairhope on Thursday, September 23 as part of ‘a series of public hearings held around Alabama.
Alabama has grown about 5% since the 2010 census. Baldwin County, however, has grown by more than 27%, according to census reports. In order to have approximately the same number of inhabitants in each district, the demarcation lines will have to be redrawn.
So you can see that there are major changes, ”said McLendon. ” It is not a surprise. We saw it coming, and you saw it coming too. There are big changes in the state, and our job is to restore the balance. “
With about 5 million people, the districts of Alabama’s 35 Senate districts are expected to number about 143,551 people, McLendon said.
Senate District 32, which now includes much of Baldwin County, has about 33,600 people over the limit. Senate District 22, which includes part of northern and central Baldwin, has about 7,600 fewer people.
Bradley Byrne, former congressman and District 32 state senator, said changes will need to be made but District 32 should retain the East Coast and Gulf Coast region of Baldwin County .
“I know this Senate district has grown tremendously,” Byrne said. “Currently it is designed to maintain a community of interest that involves people who live along the coast of Baldwin County, from the east coast, to our seaside communities in the southern part of the county, they form a community of interest, and as difficult as it may be to try to keep that community of interest together, I would ask the committee and the legislature to do so.
The 105 neighborhoods of Alabama House are expected to have approximately 47,850 residents. Several districts of Baldwin House have more residents than the limit allows, McLendon said. House District 94 in the Fairhope area is approximately 11,600 over the limit. District 95 south of Baldwin has 14,600 more and District 96, which includes Daphne and Spanish Fort, exceeds the limit by approximately 8,300.
“So these districts, where they have more people than they need, we have to rearrange the lines,” McLendon said. “Now, one thing that can happen is that a district can end, after we’ve done the count and they’ve got about the right number of people. And you would say we wouldn’t have to play with this district. But what happens is that the adjacent district could have a large increase or decrease in population. So, a line shift on a district, it will necessarily affect an adjacent district.
The state will also have to redraw the boundaries of congressional districts. US House District 1, which includes Baldwin and Mobile counties.
Byrne said that although Baldwin County has grown a lot since the last census, the legislature should keep the two counties together in the same congressional district.
“I hate to see some of this removed, but I understand that there has been enough growth in Baldwin County that it affects the Congressional District, and there may be changes,” Byrne said. “Let me argue for this – Mobile and Baldwin counties must stay together and they must stay whole. It would be very difficult for a congressman from another region, especially someone who might have to travel from Birmingham to Tuscaloosa to Selma to stay abreast of the myriad of issues that are so important here in this part of the world. ‘State.
Freya Sonestein of the League of Women Voters of Baldwin County also called on lawmakers to keep the counties in the Mobile Bay area in the same district. She also said the state should also consider changing the boundaries of certain other congressional districts in Alabama, such as District 7.
“We urge you to correct the inequalities in the current map,” Sonestein said. “Our congressional districts are not compact. They do not follow county boundaries as prescribed by the constitution and the oddly shaped District 7 appears to have gathered so many people of color into one district to ensure minority representation in that district, but weakens the influence of minorities over voting elsewhere in the state.
McLendon said Governor Kay Ivey would convene a special session of the Legislative Assembly later this year to change district boundaries.