The U.S. Justice Department has approved legislative redistricting plans that give DeSoto County two new House seats and a third state Senate district, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said Friday. Legislators last spring approved changes to House and Senate boundaries that are required after each 10-year Census is taken to reflect population shifts. But Justice Department approval, called pre-clearance, is required before the state may implement changes affecting voting in Mississippi, given the state’s history of discrimination.
Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for civil rights, announced that approval Friday in a letter to the chairmen of the state House and Senate committees that deal with reapportionment. Perez noted that pre-clearance does not bar anyone from filing suit over the redistricting changes. “I am pleased the U.S. Department of Justice approved the new district lines for the Mississippi Senate,” Reeves said in a statement. “The plan drawn by our redistricting committee received overwhelming bipartisan support from the Senate because it was fair and representative of the entire state.”