NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The state senate has passed three bills approving GOP redistricting for state house, senate and U.S. Congressional seats.
On the senate floor, lawmakers debated the plan Thursday. The Republican supermajority created the plans over the past few months but Democrats objected strongly to the results.
Democrats said they see issues with the state house and senate plans and how current house members were cut out of districts where they live. However, most of the controversy is centered around the U.S. congressional map which cuts Davidson County into three separate districts for the first time.
"The problem with the way they've divided Davidson County is no one has to represent it," said Nashville Democratic Senator Jeff Yarbro. "It's such a small portion of each of three congressional districts, that someone can win a congressional office while largely ignoring the voters in one of the largest cities, the capitol city of our state. That's insane."
Opponents were vocal about the possibility that there could be no candidate representing Nashville at the national level who lives in the city. The plan pairs Davidson districts to dozens of other counties.
Franklin Republican Senator Jack Johnson said the split was an opportunity for Middle Tennessee.
"Tennessee is an overwhelmingly Republican state," said Sen. Johnson. "I'm more concerned about the regionalism and the challenges facing the Middle Tennessee area and the fact that you'll now have three congressmen representing Davidson County and a fourth representing Rutherford County."
Johnson said the redistricting process was fair and done in a legal manner. There still could be legal challenges as some believe the maps drawn the way they are could dilute the vote of minorities in the state.
The GOP plan will be heard in the state house on Monday. It's expected to pass there as well.