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Special Session

House, Senate redistricting plans on a conference committee collision course

When they return to the floor this morning, the debate will be on the same maps they have already passed.

Sen. Dan Livingston's congressional map plan, left, has passed the Senate, while Rep. Chris Pringle's congressional plan, right, has passed the House. Alabama Legislature
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The two chambers of the Alabama Legislature swapped maps Thursday after each approved their own maps on Wednesday.

The House State Government Committee convened to discuss the Livingston Congressional Map by Sen. Steve Livingston, R-. The Senate Confirmations Committee took up the Pringle Congressional Plan by Rep. Chris Pringle, R-Mobile.

But each committee swapped in their own maps, meaning when they return to the floor this morning, the debate will be on the same maps they have already passed.

Livingston said Wednesday that he expected the two Republican groups to begin hashing out a new compromise plan on Thursday. It is likely those talks will continue through conference committee today.

House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville, said that six-person conference committee will have three camps: two Senate Republicans who favor the Livingston plan, two House Republicans who favor the Pringle plan and two Democrats, who oppose both plans and, by extension, any comparable plan that might come out as a compromise of the two.

“Right now, all we are hearing is that both sides are dug in—so it’s a three-way race,” Daniels said. “The House Republicans think their map is the best, the Senate Republicans.

With those numbers, it will take the four Republicans getting on the same page about one map to reach a solution.

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“I expect either of two things: either the House and Senate Republicans compromise on a map where they meet in the middle or we have no map and no solution and the courts go ahead and do their thing. For me, having the courts going in and doing it is where I am. Even if (Republicans are) meeting in middle with percentages or configurations of counties, I don’t see these maps satisfying the courts.”

If Republicans do create a compromise map, there will be only one hour of debate and discussion on the new district lines. 

The Senate gavels in at 11 a.m., one hour after the House, giving the Legislature about 13 hours to finish debate on the floor, reach conference committee, and then return to the floor to debate a new map if a compromise is reached. If the Legislature fails to craft a new map, a special master will come in to handle the redistricting.

“We’re getting ready to give the courts the opportunity to become the Legislative branch,” Daniels said.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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