Billy McCoy: Budget No. 1 priority

Do you think the Legislature can settle redistricting without a prolonged court battle?
“The House of Representatives will have a good plan that meets the one-man, one- vote requirement, and we’ll have a good plan that meets the mandates of the Voting Rights Act. It’s a very unpleasant task. If we all were a member of the same church, had all common goals and ideas, it’s still an unpleasant thing. Because of population shifts, a district will collapse some place, and another place will gain, like DeSoto County is going to gain two or three. The Coast may lose. That’s just the way it is. We can’t help it. And it’s very painful when you make those adjustments.”

Will the House and Senate work together to reach accord on the plan?
“We have to have a joint plan, but the Senate will have nothing to say about our plan, and we’ll have nothing to say about theirs. There are people who want to mix that up, but it ain’t going to happen. If they were to sit down, and say for some reason politics got into it so bad they wouldn’t accept our plan, then we’re headed to court.”

Have you heard speculation that the Senate may try to get involved in the House’s plan?
McCoy shook his head in the affirmative. “That would be a mistake. It would be a mistake for any member of the House or Senate to want to meddle with the other body’s plan.”

Clarion Ledger
1/4/11