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Arkansas Senate amends House Congressional redistricting map, keeps Fayetteville in 3rd District

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April 5, 2011

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas:On April 5, 2011, the Senate approved a new compromise map (See Figure 3) that would keep Fayetteville in the 3rd Congressional District. The bill received second reading and will likely appear for final approval on Wednesday morning.[1][2]

 Arkansas Congressional Redistricting Maps 

Although the deadline for completing Congressional redistricting was supposed to be April 1 when session ended, the Senate members did not vote on a plan in time and amended the Sine Dine resolution to allow legislators to return and finish the process. The Arkansas House of Representatives passed a map by a 52-46 vote on March 31 and sent it to the Senate for approval.[3] But with only one day to consider the map and strong resistance from Republican legislators, the "Fayetteville to the Fourth" map remained unapproved.[4] The Senate committee in charge of redistricting is split with four Democrats and four Republicans, which makes it difficult for any bill to emerge without a consensus opinion.[5]

On Monday, April 4, the Arkansas State Senate returned to continue debating the maps.[6] The State Agencies Committee rejected the "Fayetteville to the 4th" map. Once again, the vote was 4-4, with 5 votes needed to send the map to the full Senate.[7] On Tuesday, April 5, the Senate met again briefly but once again adjourned to negotiate a compromise map. A recent poll of Fayetteville residents found that 83 percent are opposed to moving from the 3rd to the 4th Congressional District.[8]

One option Democrats had considered was pulling the map directly out of committee. Only 18 votes would be needed -- Democrats have 20 members in the chamber. However, that option was not exercised. "We're trying to find a map that can get five votes in the committee. My sense is the Senate wants to work through the committee process and wants to avoid pulling something out of committee," said Sen. Gilbert Baker, (R), the Senate panel's vice chairman.[9]

However, it appears a compromise has been reached -- at least in the Senate -- for now.[10]

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