2012 is the first year they will be in charge of the process since Reconstruction.
Representatives Joe Hubbard and John Knight of Montgomery will lose a district to Shelby County, and Representatives Demetrius Newton and Patricia Todd of Birmingham will lose a seat to Madison County.
“To move a district that’s wholly within Jefferson County to Madison County makes no sense at all,” Newton told al.com. “I think it’s a bad move, and I think we’ll probably end up in court.”
House Minority Leader Representative Craig Ford, D-Gadsden, said the meeting didn’t go well.
“They opened them up and ran over us — no debate, no input,” Ford said.
Ford also was not pleased with the quality of the maps that were passed out at the meeting, but Republican committee members said better quality maps would be available later in that week.
McClendon stressed that the plan is by no means set in stone and reminded constituents that changes may be made in this week’s legislative session.
Dial said the plan kept most of the district lines in tact.
“There’s three things you need to understand about this plan: It did not regress any of the minority districts, it put no senators in the same district, and to the best of our ability, we kept county and city lines intact,” Dial told al.com
In the Auburn-Opelika area, Dial’s Senate plan includes an increase in the district populations in Lee County, District 13, for himself and Auburn Republican Tom Whatley, R-Auburn, District 27, and a small decrease in district population in Lee County for Billy Beasley, District 28.
House Districts 38, 82 and 83, represented respectively by Duwayne Bridges, R-Valley, Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee, and George Bandy, D-Opelika, will see gains in population.
House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) will lose small numbers from his District 79.
The Permanent Legislative Committee on Reapportionment was formed in 1990 and is made up of six members: three senators appointed by the lieutenant governor and three representatives appointed by the speaker of the house.
This year, however, the committee swelled to 22 members.
Because this is the first year since the most recent U.S. census, the committee is constitutionally bound to reapportion and redistrict the state.
In these “on-years”, the committee’s members are still appointed by the lieutenant governor and speaker, but they each receive 11 positions to fill - one from each of the state’s U.S. House districts and four “at-large” nominees.
Though the 1901 constitution and federal law requires this process be done after each federal census, Alabama did not redistrict from 1901 through 1972 when the repercussions of a Birmingham court case, based on the 14th Amendment and various civil rights acts of the 1950s and 1960s, led to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Baker v. Carr.
The state’s 35 Senate seats and 105 House spots are already set by law.
This year’s plan was worked on by the committee, including the plan’s namesakes and committee co-chairmen Sen. Gerald Dial (R-Lineville) and Rep. Jim McClendon (R-Springville), and passed in a meeting last Wednesday.
The State House will then receive the plan and a special legislative session will be called by Gov. Robert Bentley, whowould then confirm the plan .
From there it would go to the Federal Department of Justice who, in accordance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, must be assured that minorities’ voting rights are not affected in any detrimental way.