Louisiana House Speaker Clay Schexnayder recently appointed State Representative John Stefanski (District 42) to chair the influential House and Governmental Affairs Committee. This is the committee which oversees redistricting that will take place during 2021. Stefanski, a Crowley Republican and ally of the Speaker, will replace former State Representative Stephen Dwight, a Republican who was elected District Attorney of Calcasieu Parish this past November.
“I’m honored that Speaker Schexnayder has entrusted me with this chairmanship,” Stefanski said in a statement. “One of the biggest tasks on the legislative calendar in 2021 will be redistricting and the bill to do that will start in the House and Governmental Affairs Committee. I’m looking forward to serving as Chairman as we work through the redistricting process.”
Redistricting is the process of deciding every geographic boundary of every State House and Senate district, as well as Congressional districts and others. The process happens once every 10 years after each Census, making it a high-stakes endeavor that can help either political party secure power for years. Republicans hold a supermajority in the State Senate, but Governor John Bel Edwards is a Democrat, and the GOP is short of a supermajority needed to override vetoes in the State House of Representatives. The majority party in the Louisiana State Legislature will need Edwards’ signature on any redistricting plans.
Stefanski stepped down from his post as Vice-Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, which handles taxes, to serve in the new post. The House and Governmental Affairs Committee also handled several high profile bills this year, including legislation to undercut Edwards’ powers to issue coronavirus restrictions, which ultimately failed.