Lawmakers running out of time for redistricting

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - With the deadline fast approaching, lawmakers appear no closer to a final deal on what the state's new congressional boundaries will look like and it's caused some to put at least part of the blame on Governor Bobby Jindal and members of the congressional delegation.

Lawmakers have until Wednesday night to come up with a congressional redistricting plan. That's when the special session ends.

State Representative Brett Geymann, a Republican from District 35 in Lake Charles, said he is not surprised that legislators haven't been able to come to an agreement over redistricting. Geymann said as soon as lawmakers in one part of the state agree on boundaries, it causes problems in other parts of the state.

But Geymann also says, interference from outsiders, is also an issue.

"I think the unfortunate thing is that the congressmen and the governor have gotten so deeply involved in this process that it seems to have made it worse," said Geymann.

Geymann and others in the Southwest Louisiana delegation were particularly upset after Jindal's office lent its support to a northern redistricting plan that, perhaps unintentionally, split Calcasieu Parish in half, grouping the western side of the parish in a congressional district in north Louisiana.

On Sunday, Jindal told 7 News that his office had not taken a position on the redistricting in south Louisiana.

"We have taken a position on the two northern districts. We haven't taken a position on how they draw the lines in south Louisiana," said Jindal. "We're going to work with the local representatives and senators and the members and try and get that consensus. We've gotten that consensus with north Louisiana. They have yet to come up with that consensus in south Louisiana."

Several members from the Louisiana's congressional delegation sent the governor a letter urging him to push lawmakers to postpone redistricting efforts until next year.

"I think the lack of a deadline right now is really preventing [lawmakers] from coming to a final deal," said Jindal. "Since they know they've got 'til next year, I think that's also making it a little harder to get to a final decision."

Geymann said his colleagues will find out in the next couple of days whether congressional redistricting will be postponed.

However, lawmakers have been able to agree on other redistricting efforts, including redrawing their own state districts.

The regular session, in which lawmakers will tackle the state's budget, will convene on April 25th.

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