Fayetteville Finger missing from latest map (Part 19)

Rob Moritz and John Lyon in their article “Panels, Senate OK redistricting plan to split five counties,” Arkansas News Bureau, April 11, 2011 wrote:



A new congressional redistricting plan advanced at both ends of the Capitol today, possibly signaling an end to a stalemate that has prolonged the regular legislative session more than a week past its scheduled April 1 recess.

The proposal would split five counties, including — to the displeasure of lawmakers from Fort Smith — Sebastian County. It also would split the city of Alma into separate congressional districts.

The Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee endorsed the proposal in the form of Senate Bill 972 by Sen. Sue Madison, D-Fayetteville. The full Senate then suspended its rules so it could take up the bill in the same day, and the measure passed 23-12.

Meanwhile, the House state agencies committee endorsed the proposal in the form of an amendment to House Bill 1836 by Rep. Clark Hall, D-Marvell. The House is expected to take up the bill Tuesday. Both chambers are scheduled to convene at 10 a.m.

The bill is similar to a proposal by Hall nicknamed the “Fayetteville finger”, which was supported in the House but rejected by the Senate state agencies panel. Unlike that bill, however, the new proposal would keep Fayetteville in the 3rd District.

Under the proposal, Washington and Pope counties would remain in the 3rd District, while Sebastian, Crawford and Newton counties would be split between the 3rd and 4th districts. The proposal would divide the city of Alma in Crawford County between the 3rd and 4th districts.

Madison, Franklin and Johnson counties would move from 3rd District to the 4th. A small portion of Searcy County would move from the 1st District to the 3rd.

In the southeastern part of the state, Lincoln, Desha and Chicot counties would move from the 4th District to the 1st. Jefferson County would be split between the 4th and 1st districts, with Pine Bluff remaining in the 4th District.

Yell County in west-central part of the state would move from the 2nd District to the 4th….

Hall told reporters he still preferred his Fayetteville-to-the-4th plan, but “unfortunately they had three senators down there that did not see it that way, and therefore we’re having to compromise and Sebastian County is receiving (the effect of) their lack of action.”

Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said the governor considered the proposal “a good compromise.”

House Speaker Robert S. Moore Jr., D-Arkansas City, said the Legislature could wrap up work on congressional redistricting and formally adjourn the regular session Tuesday, two weeks earlier than planned.

Lawmakers were to have come back April 27 to formally end their business.


It appears that this may be over now, but then again Jason Tolbert indicated that there still is possibly some uncertainty in the air:

The full Senate approved the map 23 to 12 with a hodgepodge of Republicans and Democrats on both sides on the vote.  The House approve the “motion to amend” by a 63 to 19 vote which appeared to be a bit more Republican heavy on the no votes but also saw many support it.  The House still will vote on the actual engrossed bill tomorrow but today vote should be a good indication. (However, I am hearing that might not turn out to be the case.)

There are those that are not happy with this new arrangement and they say that a community of interest has been split. On the Arkansas Times Blog the person using the username “Tusk” noted:

“Max, Sebastian County isn’t in Northwest Arkansas. It’s in the Arkansas River Valley, and south of the river at that, where the Ouachita Mountains are, not the Ozarks of Northwest Arkansas. There’s no “community of interest” between Sebastian County and Northwest Arkansas.”

Max Brantley responded:


You haven’t been listening to all the speeches claiming an unbroken community of interest from Sebastian north to the Missouri line.

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