BREAKING: Republicans set stage to ram through radical new Congressional map

Posted on September 23, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |


Republicans set stage to ram through radical new Congressional map
Maine GOP to ignore public, law for national political gain
September 23, 2011

AUGUSTA – Republican state lawmakers will likely force through their radical plan to draw Maine’s congressional map during a special session of the Legislature on Tuesday.

The majority party will ignore the current law that requires congressional maps to gain 2/3 support from the Legislature or be drawn by the State Supreme Court. The Republican bill released today, LD 1590, includes a technical “Notwithstanding” clause in Section 2 stating that their proposal can be passed without the two-thirds support required by Maine law.

“I’m very disappointed, especially since we have found compromise on the toughest issues this session like the budget and regulatory reform,” said Rep. Emily Cain, D-Orono, the House Democratic Leader.  “It is wrong to change the rules in the middle of the game just because you can’t win.”

This year Republican leaders in the legislature championed a Constitutional amendment to prevent this abuse of the process. The Constitutional amendment makes it impossible for the ruling political party to pass a reapportionment plan by majority vote. Voters must approve that amendment in November.

But before that provision can take effect, the Republicans are now planning to push through their radical redistricting plan without any bipartisan support.

“The Republicans support the bipartisan rule as long as it doesn’t apply to them this one time,” said Rep. John Martin, D-Eagle Lake, who served on the bipartisan reapportion commission that rejected the radical Republican plan. “They will have to answer to Maine voters.”

Republicans have proposed a radical, partisan plan that would move 360,000 people, seven counties, and nearly 140 communities to a new district.

It breaks up communities that share the same interest.  It splits the shipyards, the mill communities, the coastal interests, and puts competing cities like Portland and Lewiston in the same district. This plan worsens the problem of the “two Maines” by creating one district that is mostly urban and another that is almost entirely rural.

The Republican plan has been widely criticized across the state. Four out of five people that came to the State House for the public hearings on the two proposals testified against the radical plan.  Five thousand people have signed an online petition against a radical plan.

The bipartisan commission charged by the Legislature to draw Congressional district lines narrowly endorsed the Democratic plan. Democrats have presented a plan that shifts fewer than 20,000 people. It follows the current lines, which were drawn by the Maine Supreme Court nearly 10 years ago.

“Once again Maine Republicans have shown that they are puppets of special interests from away,” added Rep. Martin. “Make no mistake this is a gift to Kevin Raye and the National GOP, who want to put the Second Congressional district in play and potentially gain an additional electoral vote for the presidential race.”

The Republican plan adds approximately 10,000 Republican voters to the Second Congressional District.

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