Today (10/27/21), the Massachusetts State Senate passed S.2560, An Act establishing senatorial districts. This bill, and the redistricting map it describes, doubles the number of majority-minority Senate districts, from three to six.
This bill divides the Commonwealth into 40 senatorial districts that will be in effect until the next redistricting cycle following the decennial census in 2030. These districts are drawn based on data from the 2020 census.
The efforts to increase majority-minority representation include the strengthening of a Black ‘ability-to-elect’ district in Boston and the creation of a Hispanic ‘ability-to-elect’ district in the Merrimack Valley, along with the creation, strengthening or preservation of four ‘opportunity-to-elect’ districts in the Chelsea area, the Brockton area, Springfield, and Boston.
The Special Joint Committee on Redistricting sought broad public input, holding. 19 public hearings, including hearings in nine different languages. The Committee also held a large number of meetings with advocates and legislators and maintained a website with case law, statistics, and ultimately, draft and final maps.
“This redistricting process will ensure that everyone's voice is heard in the Massachusetts State Senate,” said Massachusetts Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). ‘By listening to residents throughout this process, we have passed a map that fairly and accurately represents the people of Massachusetts. Additionally, these districts will better reflect the diversity of people who call Massachusetts home. I'd like to thank the Joint Committee on Redistricting, the members of the Senate Committee, their staffs, my Senate colleagues, and Senate Chair William Brownsberger for his thoughtful and thorough approach to ensuring equitable representation.”
“I am deeply grateful to the New Democracy Coalition, the Drawing Democracy Coalition and the hundreds of individuals who came forward to help shape the Commonwealth’s legislative districts for the coming 10 years,” stated Senator William N. Brownsberger (D-Belmont), the Senate Chair of the Joint Redistricting Committee. “I believe that with their help we have ended up with a high-quality plan.”
The Special Joint Committee on Redistricting carefully identified and sought to meet its legal obligations under the Equal Protection Clause, the Voting Rights Act, and other relevant law. It also followed traditional redistricting principals, especially emphasizing keeping municipalities whole. In a move hailed by Massachusetts municipalities, the new Senate map reduces the number of towns and cities split between two or more Senate districts from 21 to 11.
The Senate bill will now go the House of Representatives for their approval. Complete details of the Senate map can be found at malegislature.gov/redistricting.
|MA Senate Passes Redistricting Legislation|