Proposed districts bring changes to county

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Shelby County would see significant changes to its Alabama Senate and House of Representatives lines under a pair of proposed redistricting plans recently published by the state Legislature.

The Legislature is tasked with redrawing the Senate and House district lines every 10 years based on the most recent census data. State Sen. Cam Ward, who served on the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Reapportionment, said Shelby County’s rapid population growth since 2000 likely will bring many changes to the county’s legislative districts.

If the Legislature passes the proposed redistricting plans, the U.S. Department of Justice would have to approve the plan before it went into effect. If passed, the new districts would be in effect until after the 2020 census.

“We had a lot of changes in Shelby County because the county had such a population growth,” Ward said, noting the reapportionment committee sought to give each Senate and House district an equal number of people.

The proposed Senate plan would add Senate District 11, which currently covers Talladega, Coosa and part of Elmore counties, to southern Shelby County. Shelby County currently is covered by Senate Districts 14, 15 and 16.

“I really wasn’t excited about adding a fourth Senate district (in Shelby County), but there was no easy way around that,” Ward said.

The proposed House plan would add House District 73 to western Shelby County. Ward said District 73 was added to Shelby County by removing a district from Jefferson County.

“They (Jefferson County) had such a population decline that we had to do that,” Ward said, noting Shelby County’s population growth has accompanied Jefferson County’s population decline.

Shelby County currently is covered by House Districts 41, 42, 43, 48, 49 and 50. If the proposed plan passes, Shelby County would be covered by House Districts 15, 41, 43, 45, 47, 48, 49 and 73.

“It was a difficult process,” Ward said of drafting the redistricting plan. “But I think the new districts are very fair.”

To view the proposed House and Senate redistricting plans, click here.