Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

House Returns to Map Democrats Agree It Ends Tomorrow

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

House Returns to Map Democrats Agree It Ends Tomorrow

Article excerpt

Byline: Dave Williams and Doug Gross , Times-Union staff writer

ATLANTA -- Another day. More arguing. Still no map.

The state House returned to the General Assembly's congressional redistricting session yesterday, five days after the Senate voted to give up on the process and go home.

And although Democratic leaders still didn't figure out a way to draw the 13 districts, they did agree that the month-old session should end tomorrow, with or without a deal.

"I wonder why we don't have a map already,'' House Speaker Tom Murphy told his legislative colleagues late yesterday, shortly before sending them home until tomorrow. "But I think it's time a resolution of this issue be made.''

The General Assembly redraws congressional district boundaries every 10 years to reflect changes in population patterns that show up in the census.

Majority Democrats, who control the process in both legislative chambers, appeared to be nearing an agreement Friday night when the Senate abruptly adjourned. Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor -- who presides over the Senate -- and Murphy, D-Bremen, blamed each other and Gov. Roy Barnes for failing to nail down a compromise.

A few minutes later, the House voted to resume the session yesterday, hoping to lure Senate negotiators back to the table.

Yesterday, the two sides again seemed to be edging closer to settling their differences.

The day's biggest movement may have come when the three House representatives on a conference committee agreed to a plan that would put Clarke County into an elongated Democratic-leaning east Georgia district running into parts of Augusta and Savannah.

Senators had held out for that plan, while House members wanted Athens to anchor a more compact northeast Georgia "mountain district'' that would be expected to elect a Republican, at least in the next few elections. …

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