9:16am

Fri January 13, 2012
Five Black Legislators Squeezed into Three Seats

Republicans Push Redistricting Plan Through State House

NASHVILLE, Tenn (AP) -- The state House has approved a plan to redraw the chamber's 99 districts, overriding Democrats' objections that it placed five African-American incumbents into three seats.

The chamber voted 67-25, largely along partisan lines, to approve the Republican plan yesterday.

The version that passed undid proposals to draw two white Nashville Democrats, Reps. Mike Stewart and Sherry Jones, into the same district. It also stepped back from plans to put Democratic Rep. Eddie Bass of Prospect in a district with Republican Rep. Vance Dennis of Savannah.

Dennis will now share a district with fellow Republican Joey Hensley of Hohenwald, who may instead run for the state Senate.

The House also approved new congressional maps by a 68-25 vote.

The Senate is scheduled to take up the redistricting plans today.