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SC lawmakers working to finalize new congressional map

Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 6:23 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 14, 2022 at 8:48 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - With lawmakers back to work at the State House this week, one of their main priorities at the start of the legislative session is wrapping up redistricting.

The only item left in this process, which involves redrawing the boundaries for the state’s new Senate, House of Representatives, and congressional maps for the next decade, is to finalize the congressional map, determining how each South Carolinian will be represented on Capitol Hill.

The state Senate and House have been working on drawing this new congressional map on separate and parallel tracks, with each having formed a subcommittee that has taken public input and held hearings for testimony on this process, continuing through this week.

On Wednesday, the House approved its version of the Congressional map along party lines, a proposal that has drawn controversy as it would be expected to leave South Carolina with no competitive seats for Congress.

Meanwhile, the Senate is still working on approving its map, holding its most recent redistricting subcommittee meeting Thursday to take testimony on two maps — one that is similar to the House map and closer to South Carolina’s current congressional map, and a second that would more substantially redraw boundaries, particularly in the eastern part of the state.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has a meeting scheduled next Tuesday to consider both these maps and approve a drawing to bring before a vote of the full Senate.

At that point, there are a few different scenarios in which the state’s final congressional map could be selected.

The first and most straightforward route would be if the Senate agrees with the map the House approved this week. If the Senate votes to pass that map, then it heads to Gov. Henry McMaster’s desk to be signed into law.

If the Senate does not agree with the House map and opts to pass its version, then that new map is sent to the House. If the House approves the new map from the Senate, then that map goes to the governor for his approval.

The last option entails the Senate disagreeing with the map the House approved this week and sending its map back to the House. If the House does not agree with the new map from the Senate, then a conference committee made up of Senate and House members would be tasked with developing a compromise to send to the governor.

Senate leaders have said redistricting is one of their priorities on the January calendar.

The filing deadline for candidates running for the seats drawn by these maps is March 30.

Even after the map has been passed, there could be lawsuits challenging it, as there have been in the last five of South Carolina’s redistricting cycles, dating back to the 1970s.

So far, one lawsuit has already been filed to challenge the state’s new House of Representatives district map, passed last month.

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