Tennessee redistricting starts; focus on Nashville-area boom

This Jan. 8, 2020, photo shows the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee's Republican supermajority Legislature began work Wednesday on the once-a-decade task of carving up new legislative and congressional districts based on population shifts, a task that a Democratic congressman testified should not divide fast-growing Nashville into different U.S. House seats.

Lawmakers kicked off the monthslong undertaking with a hearing in the House, where the 16-member redistricting committee includes four Democrats. Republican Lt. Gov. Randy McNally plans to announce the Senate redistricting panel and the public input guidelines later this month, spokesperson Adam Kleinheider said.

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper testified that the redistricting process, at least at the congressional level, in the past has been "remarkably bipartisan." He urged state lawmakers not to split up Nashville-Davidson County, as did other speakers.

"Nashville is perhaps the hottest destination in America," Cooper said.