Big change proposed for  redistricting in Grainger County

NASHVILLE – A bill under consideration by the State Legislature for the redistricting of state representative districts would place Grainger County in a district with a portion of Hamblen County. 

The bill, HB1035/SB0779, would alter the legislative district boundaries to separate Grainger County from its current district which includes Claiborne County and part of Union County. The new district boundary would encompass Grainger County and approximately half of Hamblen County. 

Approximately half of Claiborne County would be joined with Union and Campbell counties to form a district and the other half of Claiborne County would be joined with Hancock and Hawkins counties to form a district. 

The inclusion of Grainger County and a portion of Hamblen County in the same district would place incumbent State Representatives Jerry Sexton and Rick Eldridge in the same district, forcing them to compete against each other for reelection. 

HB1035 has been assigned to the Public Service Subcommittee. SB0779 has been passed on second consideration and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

House Redistricting Guidelines include:

• Each district must be represented by a single member. 

• Districts shall comply with the Constitutional requirements for “one person, one vote”, as judicially interpreted to apply to state legislative districts. 

• Geographic features, boundaries and population figures shall be based on the 2020 decennial census. 

• Districts must be contiguous and contiguity by water is sufficient. 

• No more than 30 counties may be split to attach to other counties or parts of counties to form multi-county districts. 

• The redistricting plan will comply with the Voting Rights Act and the Constitutions of Tennessee and the United States.