BOSTON (CBS) – On Tuesday the Joint Re-Districting Committee will announce the new map for the House and Senate districts at 2 pm in the Gardner Auditorium at the State House. They are still working on the new Congressional District map, which must cut one of the state’s members of Congress.
The committee has been working on the new maps for the past two years with the new statistics from the 2010 Census.
The Census found the state’s population changed in the following ways: a 26% increase in African Americans, and 46% increases in Latino and Asian populations.
Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz says nearly every district will have some changes to make sure the districts are representative of the communities of interest, including ethic groups as well as regional groups like coastal communities.
Representative Michael Moran, a Committee Chair, says he is very proud of the map. He says it makes “Significant moves in the right direction to makes sure the map represents the different faces of the Commonwealth.”
One of the big issues is ensuring “communities of interest” are grouped together in a district so they can have a voice. Other factors are keeping municipal boundaries intact, and keeping the population equal. In the Congressional map, the population must be exactly equal in every district. In the statewide districts, the population must be within 5% of each other.
Right now, there are 10 “majority-minority districts”, which means the majority of the district is made up of minorities. Advocates had asked the committee for 18 majority-minority districts.
The Committee held 13 public hearings, and will have a comment period after tomorrow’s announcement. This is the first time there has been a comment period. The Committee also created a website.
The Committee is also drawing up a new Congressional District map. Massachusetts is losing one member of Congress, and there’s been a lot of speculation about whether the Eastern or Western section of the state will be most impacted by a consolidation.
Senator Chang-Diaz says they are still working on the Congressional map, and it is not expected to be released this week.
The new map will be introduced as a bill, and must be approved by the House, Senate and the Governor.