Shelby County could lose lawmakers after redistricting - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Shelby County could lose lawmakers after redistricting

(WMC-TV) - Some state lawmakers from Shelby County could be sent packing because the county is not growing as fast as other communities.

"The way things stand right now, we're probably losing one House seat and one Senate seat," Rep. G. A. Hardaway said Sunday. "And it could be one or two House seats, as a matter of fact."

According to Hardaway, fewer Shelby County seats in the Legislature means fewer local lawmakers fighting to bring state and federal dollars to Shelby County citizens.

State funds impact every part of your daily life, from schools to parks to community development. Right now, Shelby County has 16 state representatives. But after redistricting, that could drop to 14.

Meanwhile, West Tennessee has five current Senators. After redistricting, that number could drop to four.

Hardaway says it's unclear which lawmaker's seats would be dissolved.

"If we lose a seat, chances are it will be a Democratic seat, and who that will be is still up in the air," he said.

Lawmakers across the state say recent population shifts could fortify the state's new Republican stronghold. Middle Tennessee would pick up more seats and West Tennessee would lose them. After redistricting is complete, Republicans could have a constitutional majority for the first time since Reconstruction.

"I want to make sure that Shelby County retains as much power as possible," Hardaway said.

For the first time in history, Republicans will control how redistricting lines are drawn because Republicans carry the majority in the Legislature. Hardaway anticipates several meetings between Democrats and Republicans over the next few months.

"We'll talk about how do we make this process fair and how do we reach a conclusion that everyone can live with," Hardaway said.

Redistricting has led to lawsuits in the past, and Hardaway says if the population does not equally reflect House districts, there could be lawsuits this time around.

For more information on redistricting in Tennessee, click here.

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