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Some think redistricting headed to court

Following redistricting negotiators’ inability to reach a planduring a legislative special session, local lawmakers expresseddisappointment and dismay at the prospect of the issue beingsettled in court.

Dist. 92 Rep. Dr. Jim Barnett and Dist. 39 Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smithsaid the redistricting issue appears headed to court after aspecial session ended Wednesday with no agreement on how to redrawU.S. congressional district lines for four representatives insteadof the current five.

“It’s a real sad thing it’s got to go to court and we couldn’tagree on it,” Barnett said.

Hyde-Smith also expressed disappointment at the prospect ofcourt.

“I wanted to work it out in the legislature,” the senator said.”I’m disappointed because I feel like the people elected thelegislature to do this and we should have done it.”

Negotiators have been urged to continue discussions ondeveloping a plan. Barnett was hopeful those talks would befruitful and the legislature could address the issue.

“If they see any chance of getting together, the governor willcall us back in,” Barnett said.

Representatives adjourned Monday when it appeared there was noresolution.

At Gov. Ronnie Musgrove’s urging, a joint committee of House andSenate members continued talks after a noon Wednesday deadline. Thespecial session ended after those talks were unsuccessful.

Speaking about various plans, Hyde-Smith said there were a lotin which Lincoln County would be OK and a few she did notfavor.

“But I didn’t get a chance to vote on a final plan,” Hyde-Smithsaid, adding she supported Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck’s efforts to getrepresentatives back Thursday for more negotiations.

Hyde-Smith said a plan proposed by former state Sen. HenryKirksey put Lincoln County in the district currently represented byGene Taylor.

“I didn’t think Lincoln County wanted to be in with the GulfCoast,” the senator said.

Another plan placed Copiah and Lincoln counties in differentdistricts. Hyde-Smith said she was opposed to that because of thecommunity college.

At one point, Hyde-Smith said, it appeared agreement was withinreach but nothing developed for a vote to be taken. With somegive-and-take, the senator indicated there still could be agreementon an acceptable plan.

“It may not make us real happy, but it would be something wecould live with,” the senator said.

Dist. 53 Rep. Bobby Moak, Dist. 97 Rep. Clem Nettles and Dist.36 Sen. Lynn Posey, who also represent portions of Lincoln County,were unavailable for comment.