Action Under the Dome for Monday, February 15

Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Jen Lancaster

Advocacy Week is officially over, and we just celebrated our 101th birthday. February 15th is also Presidents Day, which is known for honoring George Washington (born Feb. 22) and Abraham Lincoln (born Feb. 12). However, the beauty of the holiday is that you can celebrate (or not) whichever president you want! 

It's a quiet week in the Legislature because of the Presidents Day holiday, but as usual, the League is offering a number of events that span our advocacy efforts. Check out the list below. 


The Unbearable Lateness of the Census

Last week, the Census Bureau confirmed the rumors: the target date for delivering redistricting data to the states has been pushed back to September 30. That's six months later than the original, statutory deadline.

Fair Congressional apportionment and redistricting depend on an accurate Census count, so the Bureau must take the time it needs to produce quality data. It is facing historic challenges, including poor data from house-to-house counting owing to the pandemic and unexpected problems with the results of its new online response system.

Now the states are caught in a squeeze. They'll have to rush to redraw districts in time for 2021 and 2022 primary and general elections. Civil rights advocates fear that a tight schedule will not leave time for legal challenges to the new maps before they go into effect.

Maine will have to find a way around the state Constitution's June 11 deadline, by which the legislature must complete the redistricting process. If that deadline is missed, the Constitution calls for the state Supreme Court to draw the new districts. Meanwhile, Census data for reapportioning seats in Congress should be released by April 30. (Apportionment, which happens at the Federal level, is the process of divvying up seats in Congress among the states. Redistricting, which happens at the state level, is the drawing of Congressional and legislative districts.) Maine is expected to keep its two Congressional seats.