(MISSOULA)- The bipartisan commission charged with adjusting boundaries for the state legislative districts will hit the road this month to see what the public thinks about five different plans.
The Districting and Apportionment Commission has to map new legislative district boundaries to reflect the population changes from the 2010 census. The commission has been working on the changes since last year and has developed four primary maps, with a fifth that was developed late last month.
The “Urban Rural” proposal would emphasize clear lines between Montana’s cities and rural areas. The “Existing” plan would use the current maps as starting points for drawing new lines. Another plan called “Deviation”, which would focus on “relative population equality” between districts.
A fourth plan called “Subdivision” aims to keep political subdivisions intact when possible. The fifth, and last, plan to be developed last month is called “Communities” and would try to keep “communities of interest” into account.
The public hearings will focus on the proposed plans for Montana’s 100 House districts, and how those could be used to draw the lines for the Senate as well.
The first hearing will be in Missoula starting at 7 p.m. on March 13th at the University of Montana Law School. Additional hearings are set for March 14th at 1 p.m. at the CSKT Tribal Council chambers in Pablo, and at 7 p.m. that evening at the Red Lion in Kalispell.
Copies of the plans are available online.