Around the South for Jan. 23: VRA, AL & KY

VRA: Voting rights gets support. Prominent African-American Southern Democrats are considering ways to implement President Obama’s call for passage of voting rights protections. US Rep. G. K. Butterfield (NC), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, is cautiously optimistic that a bill to restore the pre-clearance provision, overturned by the Supreme Court in 2013, can be passed. He told Politico, “I’m not going to give up on working on political deals.” US Rep. John Lewis (GA) has proposed the Voter Empowerment Act, which could be amended to include voting protections. And Democratic Assistant Leader James Clyburn (SC) wants to work on the best strategy: “We don’t know how the dynamics may develop, so we’re keeping our powder dry.”  ……. Alabama: Sessions to chair Senate immigration panel. US Sen. Jeff Sessions (R), a a major critic of President Obama’s immigration policies, is the new chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security, reports Politico, giving the Alabama conservative a powerful role in any immigration legislation ……. Kentucky: Paul addresses moderate GOPers. US Sen. Rand Paul (KY), a likely presidential candidate, told a breakfast hosted by the Ripon Society that Republicans must do more than oppose President Obama, reports The Courier-Journal. “If we’re looking forward to 2016, and some of us are, we need to show we can do something when we’re in charge, and something that works.” …….