by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher – editor@thegazebogazette.com

Last Thursday, March 31, 2022, the Mississippi State Legislature adopted both chambers state redistricting maps that accounted for the population changes in legislative districts.  Specific precincts; especially in the Coastal counties, were changed to adapt to the 2020 Census.

The 122 House districts and 52 Senate districts were updated each decade to account for population changes shown by the Census.

The most unique swaps for the Mississippi Gulf Coast came in the Senate, where District 46 & 48 transformations are in the counties, as well as the precincts.

First term State Senator Mike Thompson of District 48 (R-Pass Christian, Long Beach, Gulfport) spoke about the inclusion of these new precincts, saying “I am happy with how State Senate district 48 was drawn.  Because of the net population decrease in Mississippi and the population growth on the Coast, each district had to decrease in population to comply with federal guidelines.”

For Thompson’s district, this meant having to give up the two Gulfport Bel-Air precincts and shift to the west.  As a result, District 48 will include all of Pass Christian, portions of Bay St. Louis and Waveland south of Highway 90.  The two Bel-Air precincts were picked up by District 49 State Senator Joel Carter of Gulfport.

District 46 State Senator Philip Moran (R-Kiln, Diamondhead, DeLisle) loses half of his representation in Hancock County but did move nearly half of the district within Western Harrison County.

“I’m excited about adding in these new, strong precincts, but sad about losing West Pass Christian and the lower Hancock County area,” expressed Moran, who has represented all of Hancock County since 2011.  “Due to the addition of another Senate seat because of population, we had to reduce population in parts of our district.”

Moran added the County Farm/Gulf Haven, West Orange Grove and East Orange Grove precincts from Gulfport to his Senate seat, which he stated his plan to run for re-election one more term.

Two House districts are being moved to areas with population growth — one to DeSoto County and the other to Harrison County.  No real changes to any specific precincts with exception of District 121 Representative Carolyn Crawford (R-Pass Christian, Gulfport) obtaining the East Pass Christian box for a full representation of the city.

Legislative redistricting is done by resolutions, therefore once the other chamber approves they become law unless a judicial action takes place.  The current maps will be used for the 2023 statewide elections unless a challenge comes up

The House of Representatives created a new district because of the population growth in northwestern Harrison County.