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Arkansas lawmakers approve redistricting proposal

The Arkansas Legislature has given final approval to a proposal to redraw the state's congressional districts.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. --  Arkansas lawmakers make history while dividing up the state.

Lawmakers approved a redistricting map today that equally divides up the four congressional districts by population.

State lawmakers have drawn up to 400 maps. Over the past several weeks they've ripped maps apart over and over and had to go back to the drawing board. Now they agree on one, even though still, some don't like it.

It all came down to a vote. Sixty-four House members vote yea for a newly-drawn map. It's the same map the state Senate approved Monday.

After weeks of going back and forth over the lines, both chambers have agreed this new map is the best one. Never before in state history has congressional districts divided counties. That's the case now for Crawford, Sebastian, Newton, Jefferson, and Searcy counties. 

"We have drawn maps to accommodate as many members as we possibly can," said Rep. Clark Hall.

State Representative Clark Hall says dividing up the counties is the only way to ensure each district has an equal amount of residents, as required by federal law.

Lawmakers who represent those split counties say it could hurt in the long run. 

"We're trying to develop things economically. We're trying to create jobs and that's tough to do in two different districts," said Rep. Gary Deffenbaugh.

But the majority rules and Hall says while everyone may not like it, it's done -- finally.

"Whatever we do were gonna make people mad and upset," said Rep. Hall.

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