September 27, 2011

Legislature passes re-districting compromise

By Rebekah Metzler rmetzler@mainetoday.com
MaineToday Media State House Writer

AUGUSTA — The Maine Legislature voted to pass a compromise congressional re-districting proposal, which balances the population of Maine's two congressional districts.

click image to enlarge

Map shows how congressional district lines will be drawn under a compromise proposal passed by the Legislature today.

The proposal, negotiated between Republicans and Democrats, is known as the 'Waterville-Winslow' plan and swaps Kennebec County municipalities. The plan calls for Waterville and Winslow to move from the 2nd Congressional District to the 1st Congressional District. The following municipalities would move from the 1st Congressional District to the 2nd Congressional District: Albion, Unity Township, Sidney, Belgrade, Rome, Vienna, Mount Vernon, West Gardiner, Gardiner, Monmouth and Randolph.

It also leaves the hometown of Democratic U.S. Rep Chellie Pingree, North Haven, in the 1st District.

No other towns or cities are impacted and would remain in their current district.

Lawmakers had been ordered by a federal court to re-apportion the two districts by Friday, as a result of the 2010 census.

A bipartisan panel that met over the summer was unable to draft a plan winning support of members of both parties and the Legislature appeared poised for a partisan showdown. Republicans, who hold a legislative majority, crafted a bill that would have allowed them to use a majority vote to pass their plan of choice.

But late in the day on Monday, Republicans and Democrats said they were cautiously optimistic a deal could be struck. Both sides praised the other's efforts during today's floor debate.

"I think both parties have stepped forward and stepped up to reach an agreement which meet constitutional and statutory standards," said state Rep. Ken Fredette, R-Newport.

State Rep. John Martin, D-Eagle Lake, said, "in the end, we came together."

"(We) eventually got to a successful, I want to say, victory, for the people of Maine," he said.

The Associated press contributed to this report.

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