Legislature passes bipartisan redistricting plan

Posted on September 27, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

(Via Maine Senate, House Democrats)

    Legislature passes bipartisan redistricting plan

AUGUSTA –

The State Legislature gave final passage to a bipartisan plan for redrawing Maine’s Congressional district lines today during a Special Session of the Legislature.

“We are pleased to reach a bipartisan resolution after a such highly partisan process,” said Rep. Emily Cain, D-Orono, the House Democratic Leader. “It goes to show that compromise is possible when cooler heads prevail.”

The compromise plan moves Waterville and Winslow into the First Congressional District and puts Unity Township, Albion, Sidney, Belgrade, Rome, Vienna, Mount Vernon, Gardiner, West Gardiner, Monmouth and Randolph into the Second Congressional District. It splits only Kennebec County and brings the population difference between the districts to a deviation of one.

“The new plan is consistent with what Democrats have been proposing all along and what Maine people said they wanted,” said Rep. Cain. “It is a simple solution that keeps communities of interest together and disrupts a minimal amount of people and towns.”

The plan is a significant departure from the GOP’s initial radical plan that proposed to move 360,000 people, seven counties, and 139 communities to a new district. Last week, the Republicans announced they would likely ignore the law and force this partisan plan through with a majority vote.

“Maine people expect us to compromise and find common ground,” said Sen. Barry Hobbins, D-Saco, the Senate Democratic Leader. “Democrats have always been open to compromising around a moderate plan. We are glad the Republicans joined with us to find a bipartisan solution that we could all support.”

Democrats had offered three moderate proposals, which moved only a few towns within Kennebec County, which is already divided between the two districts. Republicans rejected those proposals during negotiations over the summer.

A federal court ordered the Legislature to redraw the line between the districts based on new census data in response to a lawsuit earlier this year.

“We adopted a plan that is in the best interest of Mainers, while still conforming with the court’s order,” said Sen. Seth Goodall, D-Richmond, who was the lead negotiator for the Democrats. “Importantly, in the end, partisanship was put aside in order to get the job done.”

The plan now must be signed into law by the governor.

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