Showing posts with label redistricting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label redistricting. Show all posts

Thursday, October 28, 2021

MA Senate Passes Redistricting Legislation

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

MA Senate Passes Redistricting Legislation
MA Senate Passes Redistricting Legislation

Monday, August 2, 2021

Franklin Election 2021: What does the School Committee do?

While the Town Council approves the overall Franklin budget including the school district top dollar amount, the oversight of the school district is the sole responsibility of the School Committee. They hire the Superintendent, who in turn is ultimately responsible (1) for the hiring of all the other school personnel and (2) the day-to-day management of the district.

Under MA law, each school principal is granted responsibility for all that happens in their building. 
All seven (7) positions of the school committee are up for election on November 2, 2021.
The School Committee faces a number of challenges. There is a structural deficiency in the funding model for schools. A 'normal' home owning household of 4; two parents, two kids contributes approx. $5-6,000 in annual taxes to the Town coffers while it costs the Town $16,000 to educate one child. Hence, the household benefits from the extra $26,000 (in education) while the Town has to fund that $26,000 from somewhere.

The School Committee has recently determined to close the Davis Thayer Elementary School. They still need to figure out what the district should look like, what other schools (if any) should close, and if redistricting is necessary. Before getting into the Davis Thayer decision, the School Committee had put aside the schools start time discussion to deal with the pandemic. The details of the start time proposal were initially worked by a special advisory committee and should still be addressed some time.

More information about the School Committee can be found on the Town of Franklin page:
My notes from the School Committee (and several of the subcommittees) can be found in the Meeting Notes page (scroll down to find the group and either  notes or audio, in many cases both.
The School Committee section of the Franklin Annual Report for 2020
Franklin Election 2021: What does the School Committee do?
Franklin Election 2021: What does the School Committee do?

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Redistricting Data: What to Expect and When?

Redistricting Data: What to Expect and When?

Written by Dr. Ron Jarmin, U.S. Census Bureau Acting Director

Since releasing the apportionment results in April, we've had several teams working hard on the next set of 2020 Census data — the redistricting data. These data play an important role in our democracy and will begin to illuminate the changes to the local and demographic makeup of our nation over the last decade.

These data include the first sub-state population counts and demographic characteristics from the census, information that states typically use for redistricting — the process of redrawing electoral district boundaries based on where their populations have increased or decreased. 

Although redistricting is a state function, the U.S. Census Bureau performs an important role in the process — providing quality data to the states from the census that states may choose to use in redistricting. 

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Video: What is Redistricting?

What is redistricting? (Video still shot)

Video link ->

Hear from the Census Bureau's James Whitehorne, chief of the redistricting and voting rights data office, and Nicholas Jones, director and senior advisor of race and ethnicity research and outreach, as they answer common questions about the upcoming 2020 Census data release. 

We serve as the nation's leading provider of quality data about its people and economy. The Census Bureau is the federal government's largest statistical agency. We are a scientific organization focused on data. Policy-makers, businesses, and the public use our information to make far-reaching decisions.