Louisiana House Speaker Clay Schexnayder has tapped Rep. John Stefanski to chair the powerful House and Governmental Affairs Committee, which oversees redistricting that will take place next year.
Stefanski, a Crowley Republican and ally of the speaker, will replace former state Rep. Stephen Dwight, a Republican who was elected district attorney of Calcasieu Parish in 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 decides the geographic boundaries of every state House and Senate district, as well as Congressional districts and others. The process happens once a decade after the 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 Gov. John Bel Edwards is a Democrat, and the GOP is short of a supermajority needed to override vetoes in the state House. The majority party in the 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.