I am sure that many of you have seen articles about the upcoming reapportionment and redistricting process and a “special session” that will take place this fall.
I would like to share a little more information about what you can expect.
As you are aware, the United States Census takes place every ten years, with the most recent one taking place last year. The United States Census Bureau then compiles the data gathered during the census and distributes the data to the states.
The federal government uses this data in a process called “reapportionment.”
Reapportionment uses the entire United States population to determine how many of the 435 members of the United States House of Representatives each state should have.
This year, several states gained additional seats, while other states lost seats due to decreased population.
Texas gained two seats, and Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, Oregon, and Montana each gained one seat. Georgia will continue to have fourteen members in the US House of Representatives, each representing a little over 766,000 people.
Once the Census Bureau completely analyzes the data, it distributes it to the states to begin the redistricting process. In Georgia, the House Legislative & Congressional Reapportionment Committee and the Senate Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee conduct this redistricting process. These committees are charged with formalizing the boundaries of Georgia’s State House of Representatives, State Senate, and U.S. House districts. The Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office assists the committees with their work.
The House Committee is chaired by Chairman Bonnie Rich, from Suwanee, and the Senate Committee is chaired by Chairman John Kennedy, from Macon. Chairman Rich and Chairman Kennedy have already conducted meetings all over the state (and virtually) to seek public input about the new district lines. If you wish to submit a comment to the committees, visit the Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office. The Reapportionment Office has created a form to receive those comments and ensure they are directed to Chairman Rich and Chairman Kennedy.
Once these new maps are drawn, they must be approved by the Georgia House of Representatives and Senate. The House and Senate generally approve these maps during a “special session.” The Governor will “call” a special session by issuing an official proclamation. The Governor’s proclamation will include a purpose for the session - in this case, to re-draw boundaries for our district maps. The legislature cannot enact any laws other than those related to the purpose in the Governor’s proclamation.
Redistricting and reapportionment are “once in a decade” occasions.
I know that both reapportionment committees are working hard to ensure that all Georgians receive quality representation.
As we move forward through this process, do not hesitate to call (404) 656-5052, email, or engage on Facebook. If you would like to receive email updates, please visit my website to sign up for my newsletter or email me.
Jon Burns represents District 159 in the Georgia General Assembly, where he serves as the House majority leader.