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Lawmakers redraw SC House maps to settle discrimination suit

Redistricting-South Carolina
Jeffrey Collins/AP
FILE - South Carolina House members look to see if there are enough votes to table an amendment during a redistricting debate on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, in Columbia, S.C. The House overwhelmingly approved its new district lines. The House has agreed to redraw some of the maps to settle a lawsuit from the ACLU and NAACP (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)

A settlement of a redistricting lawsuit has added drawing new South Carolina House maps to the list of things state lawmakers need to do in the final three days of the General Assembly's session this week.

The House agreed to redraw maps that include the areas around Orangeburg County, areas around Richland and Kershaw counties and areas around Horry and Dillon counties, according to court documents from the American Civil Liberties Union and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which sued over the maps.

If the maps are successfully redrawn, they can't go into affect until 2024 elections because candidate filing is already finished for the June 14 primaries.

The lawsuit said the South Carolina House maps intentionally diluted the number of Black voters in 29 districts. A lawsuit by both civil rights groups over the U.S. House maps continues.

The House will use a bill already on the floor and amend it with the new maps and send it to the Senate in hopes the bill can be passed before the regular session ends May 12. The settlement will be voided and the lawsuit continue if they fail.

The settlement is a victory for the Black community in South Carolina, but just a first step in providing African Americans equitable voting power, South Carolina NAACP President Brenda Murphy said in a statement.

"Today marks a historical occasion: our political leadership has listened to our grievances and is working to create a more equitable political landscape. We have successfully petitioned our government for increased political access," Murphy said.