The new district which would have two representatives, includes the 27 District, currently represented by Bill Cummings, (D-Rockmart) and the 18 District, currently represented by Tom Murphy (D-Bremen) the Speaker of the Georgia House.
Rep. Cummings said Tuesday he believed it was the best of the different plans that were submitted and that it basically kept his old district and Speaker Tom Murphy’s district the same except it combined them into the same district with two posts or seats.
The proposed district includes all of Polk and Haralson counties and some of the western portions of Bartow and Paulding counties.
Cummings said he knew that any new district involving Polk County would have multi-member representation whether he wanted it or not.
The new district was expected to be reported out of a full committee Tuesday and possibly voted on Wednesday by the House.
Polk’s neighbor to the north, Floyd County is also included in a new multi-district.
Floyd County is part of te new district that combines the 12th and 13th districts into a two-seat district comprised of the southeastern portion of Floyd County from the Alabama line and including the cities of Rome and Cave Spring, the Shannon community and the northern portion of Bartow County, including the city of Adairsville.
Rep. E.M. “Buddy” Childers, D-Floyd, said the multi-member district in Floyd County is identical to a plan he proposed earlier.
Childers said he is pleased with the House plan, which he said maximizes Floyd County’s legislative strength.
“It gives us two representatives for the next 10 years, and the northern part of Floyd County makes up 43 percent of the 11th District,” he said. The 11th District currently is represented by Rep. Barbara Massey Reece, D-Menlo.
“This plan will bring Rome and Floyd County closer together, and the representatives will have to work more closely together,” Childers said.
But Rep. Paul Smith, D-Rome, said there is “no way” he can vote for the plan, and Smith said 90 percent of the people he has talked to also oppose it.
“I would rather vote the convictions of the people in my district than in support of some political purpose,” Smith said. “I will keep trying to amend the plan.
“I cannot vote for a plan that gives Floyd County only three representatives and moves four into Bartow County. I can’t in good conscience vote for that.”
The 2000 census reported Floyd County has a population of 90,565 while Bartow County has a population of 76,019.
The Floyd County multi-member district is one of 24 such supersized districts created by the Democratic leadership.
Reece’s district would include all of Chattooga County and the northwestern portion of Floyd County, including the Armuchee and Everett Springs area. The 11th picks up some additional Floyd County voters in the Glenwood area and no longer goes into Walker County.
Gordon County, one of only two single-county districts in the state, continues as a single-county district.
Republicans accused Democrats of falling back on the jumbo districts to protect the House’s Democratic majority. Democrats argued the larger boundaries are necessary to avoid dividing more of the state’s 159 counties.
Multi-member districts allow voters to elect between two and four representatives from areas that are two-to-four times as large as conventional districts.
The use of multimember districts in Georgia was abandoned during the 1991 reapportionment sessions largely because the state had trouble convincing the U.S. Department of Justice in the 1970 and 1980 plans that the larger districts didn’t dilute black voting strength.
Republicans likely will have to take their argument to the U.S. Department of Justice, which must approve the map, or to the courts. Democrats hold a majority of 105 members in the 180-seat House — 14 more than the 91 votes needed to pass a plan. Childers predicted the plan will pass with at least 99 votes. A House vote could come as early as Wednesday.