Vt. Senate Endorses Own Redistricting; Changes House Map

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The Senate has endorsed its reapportionment map. But the proposal could face tough opposition in the House because the bill makes changes to the map that the House adopted for itself.

Every ten years both the House and Senate redraw some of their district boundaries to reflect changes in population.

Senate Reapportionment chairwoman Jeannette White says the new Senate map tries to cause "the least disruption" possible from the existing map, which is based largely along county lines.

When the House considered its own map, it made changes to the boundaries of several House districts in southwestern Vermont. The Senate map rejects those changes and restores the current boundaries of the districts.

Bennington Senator Dick Sears defended the Senate’s action.

"Whatever reason, as the other body worked on their plan, they came to the conclusion that Bennington County is the epicenter of their changes", Sears said.  "I mean, at least four communities in Bennington County have been torn apart by this proposal from the other body."

But Rutland Senator Peg Flory warned that making changes to the House map could have severe consequences.

"Every one of us can look at our county and see changes we don’t like in it", Flory said. "But as soon as we start messing with one area in the House map, every other one of us is going to find areas and we’re going to start messing with it."

The measure is scheduled to come up for final approval in the Senate Friday.

A House – Senate conference committee will then try to resolve the outstanding issues. And the panel might consider making additional changes to House district lines in Burlington.

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