Fayetteville Finger again? Maybe another plan or Court? (Part 17)

John Burris on Redistricting (from Tolbert Report):

I watched “Arkansas Week” and I saw Rob Moritz of the Arkansas  News Bureau suggest that it was very realistic that if the state legislators don’t get together soon that this could end up in court.

In his article today “Lawmakers return to work on congressional redistricting,” Arkansas News Bureau, April 11, 2011 noted:

More than a week past a scheduled April 1 recess, the Legislature’s inability to agree on a map for setting new district boundaries based on the 2010 U.S…

Both the House and Senate are scheduled to convene at 1 p.m.

Each chamber has approved a redistricting plan, but neither proposal has come to a vote in the other chamber. The Senate Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs rejected the House plan once and the panel’s House counterpart rejected the Senate plan.

If either proposal is rejected a second time in committee, it dies.

Lawmakers took Friday off to regroup. New proposals could be introduced today…

Sen. Gilbert Baker, R-Conway, said a compromise is possible — and preferable to a federal alternative.

In 2001, after the Texas Legislature failed to adopt a redistricting plan, a three-judge federal court panel drew that state’s congressional district boundaries.

Gov. Mike Beebe could call a special session at some point if the Legislature does not meet its state constitutional obligation to redraw congressional districts before lawmakers adjourn the regular session April 27. But Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said Friday the governor would not do so unless there is a clear consensus for a redistricting plan.

A week ago, the Senate state agencies committee rejected a House-approved HB1322, a plan dubbed the “Fayetteville finger” because it would extend the 4th District of southern Arkansas narrowly up into the northwest part of the state to claim Fayetteville from the 3rd District…

I think the goal (of the House Democrats) is to have only one option, and that is the ‘Fayetteville finger,’” said Rep. John Burris, R-Harrison, the House minority leader. “I think that’s not a good option.”

Sen. Gilbert Baker, R-Conway, said several new maps were being circulated by lawmakers late last week and some could be on the Senate state agencies committee agenda today.

One map Baker has drawn up attempts to address concerns by some southeastern Arkansas lawmakers who want to keep Ashley County in the 4th District and some in Northwest Arkansas who want to keep Madison County out of the southern Arkansas district.

“The good thing about this is, we are starting to get a really good feel for where everybody’s point of contention is,” Baker said. “So, once you know where the problems are you can dive back in and try to mitigate those problems.”


Jason Tolbert points out in his latest article “A partisan point of view,” Arkansas News Bureau, April 10, 2011,   that at times things did get a little partisan when the Governor and the House went at each other over tax cuts earlier. However, I like to keep things in perspective. Tolbert is right when he compares the level of conflict to the past when the Democrats controled commanding majorities, but we still are getting along much better than other states. Take a look at how Rob Moritz finished his article with an excellent point made by Dr. Barth:

Lawmakers and political analysts note that while partisan differences may be playing a role in the state Legislature’s redistricting stalemate, other states face far deeper divides.

Jay Barth, political science professor at Hendrix College in Conway, pointed to Louisiana as an example.

Arkansas’ southern neighbor is losing a congressional district and its Legislature must redraw six districts from the current seven, balancing partisan, racial, regional and incumbent interests, he said.

Louisiana is among 18 states that are either adding or losing congressional seats. Texas is adding the most, four, while New York and Ohio each are losing two.

“Compared to what you are seeing in other states, what is going on in Arkansas is minor,” Barth said.

Jason Tolbert posted today “The two chambers seemed at an impasse last week but I hear that a conscious is building around a map.  Not sure which one…” 

I am hoping things get worked out so it does not have to go to the courts. We will just have to wait and see.


Profiles of State Lawmakers. Today is State Representative Gary Stubblefield of Ft Smith District 67.

Click on people’s faces in the photo to tag them.


Article below when Gary Stubblefield announced that he was running for office.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010 11:33 AM CST






Western Arkansas dairy farmer and former Razorback football player Gary Stubblefield announces intention to run on the Republican ticket for Arkansas House of Representatives, District 67.

Long time area dairy farmer and former Razorback football player, Gary Stubblefield, has announced his intentions to seek District 67 Arkansas House of Representative seat. Stubblefield, who played for the Razorbacks from 1969-1971, studied Pre-Veterninary Medicine at the University of Arkansas. Stubblefield married his wife, Kathi, in 1974. They have two children, Joshua and Amber. Stubblefield has served on the Franklin County Quorum Court, County Line School Board, and was appointed by Former Gov. Mike Huckabee to serve on the Milk Advisory Board. “I want to restore common sense back in our government, along with integrity, accountability, and economy in government while protecting the freedom that we have been blessed with,” said Stubblefield, “Our freedom should never be taken for granted.”

According to Stubblefield, a Republican, he wants to represent the citizens of District 67 and their values, and is willing to listen and learn, without being intimidated or bullied to support anything that goes against keeping taxes down, that conflicts with promoting less government intervention in Arkansans lives, or that compromises his Pro-life values. “It is important that we have a Representative who will do what is best for our community, not what others tell him is best for our community. We need someone who will vote for Western Arkansas values,” said Stubblefield.

He is also dedicated to supporting law enforcement and improving the resources and opportunities for students, teachers, administrators, and support personnel on a local level in education. “I believe that we as a nation must return to some of the old things that made this country great; values such as integrity, honor in public office, economy in government, and individual liberty. Sebastian and Franklin counties are great places to live in Western Arkansas, and I hope the people in District 67 will help me make it even better,” said Stubblefield.

Gary and his wife Kathi are members of First Baptist Church in Branch, AR where Gary teaches Sunday school. Gary is currently serving as Vice Chairman of Franklin County FSA COC.

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