Mississippi Lawmakers Face Redistricting

The more than 170-member Mississippi Legislature could experience major modifications this year. The catalyst for change would be results from last year's census count.

Although official numbers from the census have not been released, early projections indicate significant growth in some parts of the state, and just the opposite in others.

"DeSoto County probably will add two legislative seats because of growth in that area," said state Rep. Greg Snowden of Meridian. "Also in Rankin County. And I think they're going to add a seat in Lamar County, around Forrest County and some of that has to be because the coast has lost population."

The population decline along the Gulf Coast is thought to be due to Hurricane Katrina which struck the state in 2005.

"Since Katrina, there have been people that have moved from the coast that have not gone back," Snowden said. "So, they're looking at possibly losing maybe one or two seats in the state house."

Snowden says another part of the state which could lose a seat due to dwindling numbers is the Delta region. As for east Mississippi, he says census results are not expected to show a major population increase or decrease. This means the number of legislative seats for this area would not change.

Because census number will not be available until February, the qualifying deadline for legislative offices in Mississippi has been pushed back to June 1. The qualifying deadline for all other state and county offices is still Mar. 1.