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Final plan for judicial redistricting revealed
Judicial Districts new w sm
The final proposal for state judicial redistricting will not affect DeKalb County and the 13th District. Warren, Cannon, Van Buren and Coffee, however, will form the new 14th district, while Rutherford County will be alone in the new 16th District.
DeKalb County and the rest of the 13th Judicial District will reman unaffected by state’s first judicial redistricting since 1984, unveiled by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey Monday.The new plan will reduce the number of judicial districts statewide from 31 to 29, which will result in two fewer district attorneys general and two fewer district public defenders and a savings — according to Ramsey — of $600,000 per year in salaries and benefits.The only merger in Middle Tennessee will be the 31st District of Warren and Van Buren counties, which will merge into a new 14th District with Coffee and Cannon counties.The most radical changes to the map will be the combination of two judicial districts in Northwest Tennessee.The current 29th Judicial District, comprised of only Dyer and Lake counties, will be merged into the 27th District, now adding Obion and Weakley counties, to form a new, four-county 27th Judicial District.The plan must be approved by the state legislature before it would go into effect at the start of the next judicial term on Sept. 1, 2014.Lawmakers, the judiciary and the Tennessee Bar Association have agreed on the new plan, however, paving the way for legislative approval.The plan’s only effect on Shelby County is the redesignation of the single-county district from the 30th District to the 29th.The plan leaves West Tennessee with a total of seven districts, down from the current eight.The plan creates two new single-county districts — Williamson and Rutherford — to the current nine.Williamson and Rutherford, both in the Nashville metropolitan area, are two of the fastest growing counties in the state.Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, will see the plan through the Senate.“Change is never easy but we have come together to create a map that ensures Tennesseans get the best possible service from their public defenders, district attorneys and judges,” Norris said.When judicial maps were last drawn in 1984, they consolidated for the first time the jurisdictions of district attorneys, public defenders, judges and other judicial functions into unified districts.Population shifts and differing caseloads made redistricting necessary, Ramsey said. “When the issue of judicial redistricting was first presented to me, it was clear action needed to be taken.