As you know, yesterday the House leadership under Speaker Billy McCoy hijacked one of your resolutions and attached the redistricting plan to it. Conservatives in the House stood firm yet again and held 53 votes against an unfair partisan plan. Now it looks like that this bill will be heading to the Senate today.
I’d ask you, just a moment, to forget that,
1. There is already a properly formed redistricting joint resolution ready for negotiation in the form of JR 201 and that the House has refused to name conferees to negotiate that bill in good faith.
2. There is real question about the constitutionality of the House maneuver yesterday.
3. Or that the media is on a full court press to end this fight regardless of fairness and without regard for the state constitution.
4. That your conservative colleagues in the House have voted time and again to reject this unfair plan.
Forget all of that and think of this. This is a vote that will resonate across Mississippi for decades to come. You have already voted twice that this plan is not fair and nothing has substantially changed. They other side is not dealing in good faith and they appear willing to do anything to achieve their ends. This is a simple matter and a simple vote (that you are already on the record on).
The worst case scenario is that a federal judge panel would be lazy and just accept the House and Senate maps that passed each chamber. Anything other than that will likely be an improvement and probably a substantial one for fairness.
The simple truth is that McCoy and the House are scared to death of 3 judges without political motivation crafting a plan because the odds are that it won’t look anything like what they’ve crafted. That’s why they are doing anything besides dealing in good faith on JR 201, which is the correct and agreed upon constitutional vehicle to handle redistricting. They are betting that you are willing to put petty self-dealing and weak-kneed indecisiveness above the interests of the people of the state of Mississippi. Congressman Nunnelee (a former member of your ranks) was famous for saying, “let you yeas be a yea and your nays be a nay”. Be counted on this and don’t leave your conservative colleagues in the Senate, your colleagues in the House and the people of Mississippi out to dry because you don’t have the courage to fight the good (and correct fight). If you don’t have the courage to vote again to reject this end-run, you don’t deserve to be in the chamber casting votes and I feel fairly certain that there will be some help for anyone who will challenge you.
I promise you, we will all be watching.