Mississippi's mess? Lawmakers go home without a new roadmap

The Mississippi Senate has closed the 2011 session without finalizing a redistricting plan. "We have been waiting patiently for three weeks to resolve this issue of redistricting with the House," said Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant. "I am not going to waste any more taxpayer money without hope of a compromise with the House Democrat leaders."

A statement from the lieutenant governor's office says senators first defeated a plan sent over by the House where the House redistricting plan was inserted into an improper resolution. "This movement by the House Democrat leadership is simply unconstitutional. Trying to amend a Senate Resolution with a joint resolution is simply improper and should shock the sense of all the citizens of this state. It is unfortunate that the House Democrat leadership is choosing partisan politics over constitutional principle."

It's unclear what happens now. Federal judges could draw new legislative districts. Or, Republican Gov. Haley Barbour could call lawmakers back to do the job. Or, candidates could run in the outdated legislative districts this year and a new group of lawmakers could draw new maps in 2012.

The 122 state House districts and 52 Senate districts have to be updated to reflect population changes revealed by the 2010 Census.

Redistricting hit a road block last month after the Senate rejected the House's first map. The Mississippi NAACP filed a lawsuit last month that seeks to block elections in the current districts because some districts have many more residents than others.

"I have discussed with the Governor the idea of a special session but only if a fair compromise were to be reached would I request the Governor to make the call."

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