Tennessee enacts new state legislative districts

Tennessee enacted new state legislative districts on Feb. 6, 2022, when Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed a proposal approved by both legislative chambers into law. The maps will take effect for Tennessee’s 2022 state legislative elections.

The Senate Ad-Hoc Committee released a proposed Senate district map on Jan. 13. On Jan. 18, the Senate Judiciary Committee recommended the proposal for consideration by the full Senate in a 7-2 vote along party lines, with all Republicans supporting the proposal and all Democrats opposing it. The Senate approved an amended version of the plan in a 26-5 party-line vote on Jan. 20, and the House voted 71-26 to approve the new districts on Jan. 26.

The Tennessee House Select Committee on Redistricting approved a proposal for House districts, HB 1035, on Dec. 17. After approving an amendment to the bill, the House passed the plan on Jan. 24 in a 70-27 vote. On Jan. 26, the Senate voted 23-6 to approve the state House plan without making amendments.

Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R) said, “We feel like the maps are legal and defensible both from a statutory and constitutional standpoint.” Rep. John Ragan (R) said the state legislative maps accurately reflect the growing population of the state. “We have worked well together in a bipartisan manner to draw the lines of redistricting in a way that is fair and equitable and have invested much time and effort into ensuring that every district is properly represented,” said Ragan.

Rep. Gloria Johnson (D), who would not reside in her current district under the new maps, said, “The supermajority in Nashville drew a ridiculous, partisan gerrymander to take my house out of the district I represent.” Rep. Torrey Harris (D), whose district was combined with that of Rep. London Lamar (D) said, “It sends a strong message when you combine the two youngest representatives into one district, diluting a successful pool of young leadership.”

As of Feb. 8, 2022, 32 states have adopted legislative district maps for both chambers, and one state has adopted maps that have not yet gone into effect. The state supreme courts in two states have overturned previously enacted maps, and 15 states have not yet adopted legislative redistricting plans after the 2020 census. As of Feb. 8, 2012, 37 states had enacted legislative redistricting plans after the 2010 census.

Nationwide, states have completed legislative redistricting for 1,338 of 1,972 state Senate seats (67.8%) and 3,158 of 5,411 state House seats (58.3%).

Additional reading: