Redistricting Committee Releases Maps for New Senate and House Districts
On Tuesday, the Joint Committee on Redistricting released maps redrawing the 160 districts of the Massachusetts House of Representative and the 40 Senate districts. The redistricting process was initiated after the release in March of the 2010 U.S. Census data. The committee commenced a seven-day public comment period on Tuesday and scheduled an executive session for next Tuesday, Oct. 25 to vote on House and Senate districts. Given that candidates for the Massachusetts House of Representatives must establish residency in their district one year prior to Election Day, there is pressure to quickly complete deliberations on the new maps.
The central part of Massachusetts and the south coast have had the biggest changes in population, with Worcester growing the fastest of all counties in Massachusetts over the last 10 years. Other areas that experienced a population growth include Amherst, Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk, and Plymouth County. The redrawn maps feature the following changes:
· Northbridge, Needham, Winchester are newly split communities under redrafted Senate district maps
· Barnstable, Belchertown, Melrose, Revere, Saugus, Somerville, and Woburn will be reunited under redrafted Senate district maps
· Total number of spilt towns under the new Senate draft is 21 which is down from the current 25 towns
The Committee will focus on drawing a Congressional map in early November, when it will have to decide how to consolidate 10 seats into 9.
Wagner to lead Gambling Bill Conference Committee
Representative Joseph Wagner (D-Chicopee) was named as House Chair of the conference committee that will negotiate a consensus gambling bill. Representative Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill) and Representative Paul Frost (R-Auburn) were also appointed to serve on the committee. On Thursday, House leadership insisted on adoption of its version of expanded gambling legislation. The Senate adjourned early for the week and will likely name its conference committee members on Monday.
Governor Patrick Offers New Spending Plan
This week, Governor Patrick filed a $161 million FY 2012 supplemental budget and increased tax-collection estimates by $395 million. The adjustments in the estimation were made based on projected federal reimbursements, fees, and licensing receipts. The supplemental budget includes $35 million for adult day health care for low-income seniors and disabled individuals enrolled in MassHealth; $39 million for homeless or at risk homeless families; $20.4 million for information technology; $20 million for county correction facilities; $10 million to hurricane damage; $3.5 million for child care for low-income families, and $2 million for services to youth offenders.
The House and Senate also sent a $480 million FY11 budget bill to the Governor’s desk. The spending bill allocates $460 million in surplus funds that remained when Fiscal Year 2011 ended in July.
John Nunnari, Assoc AIA
Executive Director, AIA MA
MA Chapter of American Institute of Architects
The Architects Building
52 Broad Street, Boston MA 02109-4301