AUGUSTA, Maine — A 15-member legislative commission charged with drawing new state House and Senate district lines started its work Friday and agreed to the guidelines it will use to shape new electoral districts to conform with 2010 census data.
The Legislative Apportionment Commission agreed to draw electoral districts that are nearly equal in population, are compact and contiguous, and cross town and city boundaries as little as possible. Those are requirements listed in the Maine Constitution. The apportionment commission is also bound by federal voting rights requirements.
The panel plans to draft maps and share them with the public in March, according to a news release from House Speaker Mark Eves’ office.
Under the Maine Constitution, the apportionment commission’s plan needs to be approved by two-thirds of the Legislature by June 11. If the plan doesn’t garner sufficient legislative support, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court sets the district boundaries.
The Apportionment Commission has seven Republicans, seven Democrats and an independent chairman, Michael Friedman of Bangor. Five lawmakers from each party, the chairs of the state Democratic and Republican parties and one member of the public from each party serve on the panel.
The commission next meets March 8.