Whether it will be the final resolution of redistricting remains to be seen.
Rep. Ed Blackmon, D-Canton, a veteran of redistricting fights, said the possibility of both the House and Senate redistricting plans being approved by the U.S. Department of Justice is "slim and none." If the Justice Department does not approve the plans on the grounds they dilute black voter strength, the issue could end up in federal court. Legislators came into the 2012 session knowing they had to redraw districts after the 2011 Legislature was unable to agree on a plan because of partisan differences. With Republicans gaining control of both chambers in the November elections, they pushed through plans for both chambers they said were fair but that many Democrats argued were not.
On the final day of the session, the House passed the Senate redistricting plan. On Wednesday, the Senate had passed its own plan and the plan approved by the House to redraw those 122 districts.
Asked why the Senate waited until the final three days of the session to unveil and pass its proposal, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, who presides over the chamber, said, "We were busy passing really good legislation before that."
In the past, it had been common practice for the two chambers to rubber stamp the other chamber's plan. But that was not the case in 2011 and it was not Thursday.
Democrats argued for more than two hours Thursday that the Senate plan diluted black voter strength and also was unfair to rural voters because it merged rural populations with urban areas to draw districts advantageous to Republicans.
Reeves said the Senate plan is "fair to all Mississippians."
In the end, the Republican majority stuck together to pass the plan.
Rep. Rufus Straughter, D-Belzoni, held the proposal on a motion to reconsider, which would have resulted in legislators having to return to the Capitol on Friday to table the motion. But after lunch, Straughter withdrew the motion.
Besides the House taking up and passing the Senate redistricting plan, both chambers passed several commendatory resolutions on Thursday. The Senate also completed confirming scores of nominations to state boards.