Georgia Senate committee releases draft Senate districts

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(The Center Square) — The chair of the Senate Committee on Reappointment and Redistricting released the proposed Georgia Senate districts lawmakers will consider just days before state legislators convene a special session.

Lawmakers will redraw congressional and state legislative maps after U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones ruled they violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Jones set a Dec. 8 deadline for lawmakers to complete the new maps.

According to the documents released on Monday, the ideal district will have 191,284 residents — dividing the state’s more than 10.7 million residents equally among the 56 state Senate districts. The proposed districts have populations ranging from 189,320 to 193,163 residents, and modified districts include those in Georgia’s urban areas — Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Macon and Savannah.

“In preparation for the 2023 Special Session on Redistricting, we have released a draft of the proposed plan for Georgia’s Senate Districts in order to give the public an opportunity to review and provide feedback,” state Sen. Shelly Echols, R-Gainesville, the committee’s chair, said in a statement.

The Senate committee will hold its first hearing on Wednesday to discuss the draft plan. In his ruling, Jones indicated the fix includes an additional majority-Black congressional district, two additional majority-Black state Senate districts and five additional majority-Black state House districts.

While in session, the state Senate will also confirm appointments Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, made since lawmakers adjourned in March. Lawmakers will ratify a pair of executive orders Kemp issued suspending the gas tax, which is also set to expire on Wednesday.

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