STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, APRIL 5, 2005...Legislators from both sides of the
aisle paraded before the Election Laws Committee Tuesday urging an end to
the back room politicking that has come to be known as gerrymandering.
Several citizen groups and 57 lawmakers are supporting a proposed
constitutional amendment that they say will bring more fairness to the
mapmaking that occurs every ten years when congressional and legislative
districts are redrawn to reflect population shifts. If approved by two
successive legislatures, the proposal could reach the ballot in 2008.
The pending legislation calls for the appointment of a special nine-member
commission to conduct the redistricting that comes after the taking of the
US Census every decade. The panel would be directed to follow federal
laws, respect city and town borders and groups with common interest, and to
maintain geographic compactness. Future redistricting plans and
accompanying material would be available for public inspection and comment
before being submitted to the Legislature for approval."