Senate Passes Redistricting Legislation

by | Nov 2, 2021

On October 28, 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.

As part of the bill, the Second Worcester District, represented in the Senate by Senator Michael Moore (D-Millbury), is now subject to change. As it currently stands the Second Worcester District consists of part of the City of Worcester and the towns of Auburn, Grafton, Leicester, Millbury, Shrewsbury, Upton and precincts in Northbridge. Per this legislation, the district will no longer contain the towns of Leicester, Northbridge or Upton, while adding Westborough.

“Redistricting can be a long a tricky process but is one that is essential as we must ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth are equally represented in the legislature,” said Senator Moore. “It was great to have so many people express their thoughts and concerns throughout this process, and I am confident the map we have passed better meets the needs of all residents. It has been an honor and privilege to represent the residents of Leicester, Northbridge and Upton. I will certainly miss the relationships that I have forged in these communities over the past decade and I am looking forward to creating new friendships in Westborough. I’d like to thank Senator Brownsberger for his thoughtful approach and his willingness and enthusiasm to listen to the people of Worcester and the many surrounding communities in Central Massachusetts.”

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 malegislature.gov/redistricting.