Arkansas lawmakers on Thursday passed legislation redrawing the state’s congressional districts. State lawmakers across the country are obligated to do so every decade after each new census.
The numbers from the 2020 census were revealed this past summer with population centers increasing Central and Northwest Arkansas and rural sections of Arkansas experiencing shrinking populations.
After two weeks of heated debate, which accompanies all redistricting proposals each decade, legislation approved by each chamber would divide two of the state’s largest counties, Pulaski and Sebastian. Under Senate Bill 743 from Republican Jane English of North Little Rock and House Bill 1982 from Republican Nelda Sparks of Mountain Home, most of Pulaski County including all of Little Rock would remain in the 2nd congressional district.
Portions of southeast and extreme south Pulaski County would be moved to the 1st and 4th districts.
Fort Smith and northern Sebastian County, meanwhile, would remain in the 3rd district with the remainder of the county moved to the 4th.
The Senate approved the bill on a 21-12 vote, while the House approved an identical measure 53-35.