Louisiana lawmakers approve a new congressional map with a second majority-Black district

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Louisiana state lawmakers approved a new congressional map on Friday, drawing a second majority-Black district to comply with a court order.

A federal court had ruled in 2022 that Louisiana’s Republican-controlled Legislature had illegally disenfranchised Black voters in the state with their previous redistricting plan. After more than a year of appeals and a U.S. Supreme Court ruling forcing a new map in a similar case in Alabama, state lawmakers set out to redraw the Louisiana map this week.

The state is nearly one-third Black, but five of the state's six congressional districts are a majority white. Louisiana’s 2nd District, which is majority Black, is currently represented by Rep. Troy Carter, a Democrat.

The new map will lower the Black voting-age population in Carter’s district to 51%, while drawing a new 6th Congressional District as a narrow strip through the center of the state, from Shreveport to Baton Rouge. That district will have a Black voting-age population of 53%.

GOP Rep. Garret Graves represents the current iteration of Louisiana's 6th District, which has a Black voting-age population of 23%.

The new map now goes to Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry, a Republican, for his signature. The newly sworn-in governor committed to supporting the map earlier this week.

“These maps will satisfy the court and ensure that the congressional districts of our state are made right here in this Legislature and not by some heavy-handed federal judge,” Landry said in a floor speech on Tuesday.

State Sen. Glen Womack, a Republican who sponsored the map, said on the state House floor that the map creates two districts with a majority of Black voters while intentionally preserving safe Republican districts of U.S. House Speaker Rep. Mike Johnson, Majority Leader Rep. Steve Scalise, and Rep. Julia Letlow, the first Republican woman elected to the House from the state.

“If we don’t act, it’s very clear that the federal court will impose the plaintiff’s proposed map on our state and we don’t want that,” Womack told state House lawmakers on Friday afternoon.

The map was passed after a tumultuous week marked by hourslong delays to hearings and planned votes, as state lawmakers and interested parties engaged in heated negotiations over the maps.

Carter’s allies lobbied aggressively to have more Black voters kept in his district, a source familiar with negotiations said, but ultimately failed when House lawmakers stripped an amendment from the bill on Friday and then immediately voted to pass it.

“Everybody likes to eat sausage, but nobody likes to see how it’s made. And it has been painful and it’s been painful for all of us, but it’s simple: we’re under a federal judge’s mandate,” said Republican state Rep. Beau Beaullieu IV on the floor on Friday afternoon.

In an interview shortly before the map passed, Davante Lewis, the state's Democratic Public Service Commissioner and a plaintiff in the case challenging the maps, criticized Carter and said he was trying to “torpedo” the map to prevent a white, progressive candidate from taking his seat.

In an interview shortly before the bill’s passage, Carter dismissed the idea and said he was trying to ensure the Black lawmakers get elected.

“I’m not sure where he gets that or why he thinks that, this is about taking advantage of a historic opportunity to create two African American congressional seats,” he said, defending lawmakers' right to negotiate for their preferred maps. "Who knows the districts more intimately than people that are involved? 'Course I weighed in to answer questions and shared my views."

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com