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Mass. Releases Redistricting Maps

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Massachusetts State House in Boston (credit: AP)

Massachusetts State House in Boston (credit: AP)

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BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Massachusetts would have more legislative districts where blacks, Latinos and other minorities are in the majority under a new proposal based on 2010 Census numbers.

The maps released Tuesday would double the number of so-called minority-majority Massachusetts House districts from 10 to 20. It adds one such district in the Senate, for Springfield. There are two similar districts in the Boston area.

The proposal must be approved by the House and Senate and signed by Gov. Deval Patrick in time for the 2012 elections.

Read: Letter from the Chairman (chairman letter)

The Census found the state’s black population rose 26 percent in the last decade. Latino and the Asian-American populations rose 46 percent.

Pam Wilmot of Common Cause, a government watchdog group, is very pleased with the re-districtng process and the results.

“It’s unprecedented to have a two week public comment period before the vote.  The maps look good, if not outstanding in a number of areas,” said Wilmot. “These maps are a substantial step in the right direction for minority representation.  They are more than the minority community asked for.  We are very pleased with the level of concern for disadvantaged communities.”

The state has a history of problems with redistricting.  Massachusetts violated the federal voting rights act 10 years ago, and 30 years ago with it’s House districting.

Common Cause is looking through the maps to understand them better and crunch the numbers themselves, but says at first glance they are pleased with the results to reflect the changing face of Massachusetts.

A new map shrinking Massachusetts congressional districts from 10 to nine isn’t expected this week. Massachusetts’ population grew at a slower rate compared with other states in the last decade.

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson contributed to this report.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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