LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The House and Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committees on Thursday heard presentations on four Congressional redistricting maps, including one that would move U.S. Rep. French Hill’s home from the 2nd to the 4th District and move Rep. Bruce Westerman’s home from the 4th to the 2nd.
Hill lives in Little Rock, and Westerman lives in Hot Springs. Both are Republicans. Westerman represents southwest Arkansas.
It also would split the state’s most populous county, Pulaski, into three districts and Little Rock into two. The map’s sponsor, Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, told Talk Business & Politics he was aware the map as drawn switched the two members of Congress, but it’s still a work in progress.
“I presented the map as is today without that correction so I could say the map is exactly as drawn based on the simple requirement of compactness of geography,” he said. “The presentation of this map and the debate around it today has helped us to get to a map that I think could be close to final.”
Under the U.S. Constitution, U.S. House members are required to be residents of their states but don’t have to live in the districts they represent.
The committees are meeting again Sept. 27 to consider whatever maps other members bring. Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway, the Senate chair, said afterwards that at least one other map by Sen. Blake Johnson, R-Corning, is being prepared. No action will be taken, but the meetings are part of the consensus-building process that will lead to a vote on new districts when the Legislature reconvenes Sept. 29.