Senator Haile’s SB 1811 will spare Trousdale County from redistricting.
SB 1811 and its partner bill in the House, HB2053, have a new proposition that will keep small counties from finding themselves divided when the time for reapportionment comes around. Reapportionment must take place in light of county censuses if it is determined that dramatic population changes have occurred in a given area.
Now home to a new prison facility, Trousdale County could see a population increase of up to 2,500 people, definitely a dramatic population change for the county. While that may bring many benefits to the community it could also bring the redistricting lines if the inmates are counted along with the voting individuals of the county.
Since 1981, Tennessee law has specified that prisoners and convicted felons cannot vote. However, prison populations are still counted in the census. This bill corrects the lack of uniformity that currently exists by preventing unequal representation in the voting districts.
The bill passed on the Senate Floor in February, but the House had concerns about the language. They passed an amended version which returned to the Senate for confirmation this week. There, 31 ayes and 0 nays sent it forward to Governor Bill Halsam for his action. Pending his signature, SB 1811 will go into the Tennessee Code and keep our smaller counties from being unwittingly divided and unequally represented.