The Standard Journal

Kemp calls early Nov. special legislativ­e session for redistrict­ing

- By Dave Williams

ATLANTA — The General Assembly will meet Nov. 3 to begin a special session to redraw Georgia’s congressio­nal and legislativ­e districts.

Gov. Brian Kemp announced the date for the session in a proclamati­on late Thursday, Sept. 23.

Under Georgia law, the legislatur­e must adopt new district boundaries every 10 years to account for population shifts reflected in the U.S. Census.

Two legislativ­e committees, one from the Georgia House of Representa­tives and one from the state Senate, held hearings across the state during the summer to gather public feedback ahead of drawing the new maps.

Lawmakers heard an earful from representa­tives of civil rights and voting rights groups calling for new district lines that accurately reflect population gains by minority groups during the last decade.

But if the past is any indication, the party in control of the General Assembly – in this case, the Republican­s – will draw maps aimed at regaining losses during the last two election cycles in both the legislatur­e and the state’s congressio­nal delegation.

With dramatic growth having occurred in metro Atlanta and some parts of North Georgia since 2010, the maps also are expected to shift more legislativ­e districts north of Interstate 20. Rural counties in the southern half of the Peach State likely will see a reduction in the number of districts reflecting losses in population sustained by those areas.

Among other things, lawmakers during the special session also will be asked to ratify executive orders Kemp issued in May to suspend the collection of state gasoline and diesel fuel taxes. The governor acted after the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline disrupted fuel supplies.

However, the special session will not include legislativ­e proposals to address the crime wave that has hit Georgia during the past 18 months. Kemp had indicated in July that he planned to put crime on the agenda for the special session.

Also absent will be discussion of whether the state should expand its Medicaid program to cover more uninsured Georgians. Democrats have been calling for adding Medicaid to the special session agenda, but the governor has consistent­ly opposed the idea due to the costs.

The special session likely will run at least into the week of Thanksgivi­ng. The last redistrict­ing special session, which took place in 2010, lasted for two and a half weeks.

 ?? ?? Brian Kemp
Brian Kemp

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