Lawmakers: Contentious debates over proposed maps on Day 1
The special session started with a bang Wednesday as members of the House and Senate reviewed the new legislative maps proposed by Republicans.
The Senate hit the ground running when Democrats immediately protested the proposed new legislative maps.
They said that the new maps still do not remedy the issues raised by a federal judge and moved too many of the existing majority-Black senate districts. Democrats in the Senate proposed another map.
“Essentially, the new proposal does nothing, nothing to improve the voting power of black voters," Senate Minority Caucus Chair Gloria Butler said.
On the Senate floor, Democrats continued their dissent of the Republican proposed maps, calling them "disingenuous."
Later that afternoon, the Republican-controlled Senate committee on reapportionment made its case for the new maps.
Committee Chair Shelly Echols said that no incumbents would be drawn into a district with another incumbent, and that no existing majority-Black districts were eliminated.
"Our primary goal in creating this district plan is to comply with Judge Jones' order in every respect," she said. "I told every member that I met with that my primary goal is simply to comply."
The changes in the proposed Senate map were focused in metro Atlanta.
The Republican map was passed by the committee on Thursday morning.
The House's proposed district maps proved controversial as well. Several incumbents were drawn into districts with each other.
"It continues to perpetuate racial gerrymandering," Policy & Engagement Director for Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda Cindy Battles said during public comment.
Committee Chair Rob Leverett said that House Republicans consulted with lawyers to come up with the new maps to address the federal judge's concerns.
Democrats in the House also proposed a new map, which is unlikely to pass.