Louisiana enacts new congressional district boundaries after legislature overrides governor’s veto

Louisiana enacted new congressional district boundaries on March 30 when the state legislature overrode Gov. John Bel Edwards’ (D) veto of legislation establishing the new districts. Louisiana was apportioned six seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census, the same number it received after the 2010 census. This map will take effect for Louisiana’s 2022 congressional elections.

The state Senate voted to override 27-11 with all ‘yes’ votes from Republicans and all ‘no’ votes from Democrats. The state House of Representatives overrode Edwards’ veto 72-32 with 68 Republicans, three independents, and one Democrat voting in favor and all votes against by Democrats. Governor Edwards had vetoed the congressional district map on March 9 that the legislature had passed on Feb. 18, saying in a statement, “it does not include a second majority African American district, despite Black voters making up almost a third of Louisianans per the latest U.S. Census data.”

Louisiana is the fourth state this cycle—along with Kansas, Kentucky, and Maryland—where the legislature overrode the governor’s veto of redistricting legislation. All four states have divided government, where one party holds the governor’s office and the other controls both chambers of the state legislature.

Tyler Bridges, Sam Karlin, and Blake Paterson wrote in The Advocate that the approved map means “that Louisiana this fall will have five congressional districts favored to elect Republicans, while Democrats will have one – unless federal courts rule that the new map violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act and mandate new boundaries.”

After the legislature’s override vote, House Speaker Clay Schexnayder (R) issued a statement that said, in part, “Today, the overwhelming will of the Legislature was heard. House Bill 1 fulfills our constitutionally mandated duty to redistrict Congress. It also shows true legislative independence and a clear separation of power from the executive branch.”

In remarks made after the legislature overrode his veto, Gov. Edwards said, “I can’t imagine there is a more compelling case for the courts to look at and to overturn than in Louisiana. It’s not even close. I happen to believe it’s a very clear case of violating the Voting Rights Act.”

As of March 31, 39 states have adopted congressional district maps. One state’s map has been overturned by court action and four states have not yet adopted congressional redistricting plans after the 2020 census. Six states were apportioned one U.S. House district, so no congressional redistricting is required.

States have completed congressional redistricting for 383 of the 435 seats (88.0%) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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