The Alabama Legislature passed plans early Thursday morning to redraw the 140 districts of state lawmakers, but did so in the Senate over angry and loud objections of Democratic senators. Democratic Sens. Rodger Smitherman and Bobby Singleton yelled for the proposed map of the 105 House districts to be read in its entirety, which some estimated would take 36 hours or longer. They said it violated the constitutional right of a senator to ignore their request to have it read. Smitherman, a Birmingham Democrat who had already had an angry confrontation with a senator in the chamber earlier, walked the Senate floor yelling about racism and prejudice, referring to the Ku Klux Klan and saying Alabama has gone backward. He continued shouting those words and phrases during the vote, and after the Senate recessed and members began to leave the floor.
In the House, Rep. Thomas Jackson, D-Thomasville, had already moved to have the Senate map read at length. Following the Senate vote, Jackson decided to stop the reading; the House then approved the map on a 66-35 vote. The disputes in both chambers centered around the role of minority voters in the maps. Republicans, saying they were trying to avoid reducing the number of black voters in individual districts — and possibly violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act — submitted maps that increased the number of majority-minority House districts from 27 to 28, while maintaining Senate districts at eight.