With initial redistricting proposals slated to be released Wednesday, Senate leaders are urging lawmakers not to discuss how the maps could affect their political fortunes. Senate President Wilton Simpson, incoming Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book sent a memo Tuesday that said senators will face questions and comments after staff-proposed maps are released Wednesday.
“Our responsibility as senators is to pass a constitutional map,” the memo said. “Future political ambitions in this chamber or elsewhere should be of no consideration as we review the work of our staff. Therefore, we would encourage senators not to opine on the staff-produced maps in the context of your own political future. The time for campaigning is coming, but the time for legislating is now, which requires fulfilling our responsibility to pass constitutional maps.”
The memo acknowledged that the outcome of the once-a-decade redistricting process could affect whether lawmakers get re-elected.
“As senators, we are frequently presented with situations where we must set aside our personal views and make decisions in keeping with the oath we each took to defend the Constitution and laws of this state,” the memo said. “Nowhere is this responsibility more challenging than in redistricting given that some of us may ultimately decide to vote for a map knowing the realities of that map are such that we will never be re-elected. Some of us may choose to defer seeking re-election. Still others may decide to run against a current colleague who we know and respect.”
The proposals slated to be released Wednesday by staff members are a first step, as lawmakers prepare to approve maps during the legislative session that will start in January.