Panel holds hearing on adding lawmakers

Posted: Wednesday, March 10, 2010

JUNEAU - The Senate Finance Committee held its first hearing Monday on a constitutional amendment to add 12 seats to Alaska's 60-seat Legislature.

Chairman Bert Stedman, a Sitka Republican, says the bill has his attention.

Experts have testified that the upcoming decennial redistricting process may have irreconcilable problems. Population shifts to the Railbelt and disparate rules in the state Constitution and federal Voting Rights Act on how to redraw the lines are the cause.

Without changes, districts with stagnant and shrinking populations - like Stedman's - may face dissolution in favor of new Railbelt districts. With the additional legislators, those districts would likely remain intact while the Railbelt gained the new seats.

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