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State senate approves redrafted redistricting plan

State senators approved new maps for their districts on a 36-3 vote Wednesday, with two of the senators who voted in opposition raising concerns about both their individual districts and the redistricting process.

Sen. William Brownsberger, the lead architect of the Senate's redistricting plan, said it doubles the number of the 40 districts where a majority of residents are non-white — from three to six — and reduces the number of municipalities split between multiple districts.

Sens. Diana DiZoglio, Marc Pacheco and Barry Finegold, all Democrats, cast the dissenting votes.

DiZoglio called the bill "a laudable, critical first step," but said it did not go far enough in granting access to influence for communities that have been shut out of the political process. Pacheco said more could have been done to keep communities with shared interests together, pointing specifically to Bridgewater and Raynham, which share a regional school district.

The current Senate map, Brownsberger said, features 21 split communities. The new version "un-split" 12 communities and divided two new ones, he said, leaving a total of 11 that would be split.

The original proposal from the Senate Redistricting Committee proposed to add two new majority-minority districts, resulting in pushback from advocates who had hoped to see another in the Brockton area.

After what Brownsberger described as some "stretching to meet the concerns of advocates," the map approved Wednesday created a new district with a 54.3% minority population that newly combines Brockton with half of Randolph and Avon.

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