A bipartisan commission drawing new General Assembly district lines approved a redistricting plan on Wednesday that will shift 1,000 voters from western Newtown to another district that already covers part of Bethel, Danbury and Redding, according to Rep. Chris Lyddy (D-106).
That means that in addition to Lyddy; Rep. DebraLee Hovey (R-112), who also represents Monroe; and state Sen. John McKinney (R-28), who also represents Fairfield, Easton and Weston; Newtown would have the addition of yet another representative spread across several municipalities.
At the moment, , which is composed of Bethel, Danbury and Redding, and under the plan would come to include Newtown.
Lyddy, whose district would remain the only one to encompass just Newtown, said he did not believe the change would favor one political party over the other.
"The way I see it, I enjoy a positive, collaborative, and supportive relationship with both Rep. Hovey and Senator McKinney," Lyddy said in an email. "I welcome the new representative from Bethel to the table and trust he or she will embrace the people of our community as well as the type of leadership that we appreciate and deserve here in Newtown."
The change is part of a larger redistricting proposal for both chambers of the General Assembly unanimously approved Wednesday afternoon by the bipartisan Reapportionment Commission. The proposal now goes to the secretary of the state for her approval before they go into effect. The new districts, if approved by the secretary, would be in place for the 2012 General Assembly election cycle.
The commission, which was facing a deadline to approve the redistricting proposals, was unable to reach consensus on a plan to redraw Connecticut’s congressional district lines. Under state law, the panel must now ask the Connecticut Supreme Court to give it a 30-day extension to draft and approve a plan.
The nine-member commission began work on redrawing the House and Senate districts in April after it was appointed by the legislature. Connecticut law requires that the districts be studied and, if necessary, their lines be redrawn if necessary, following each federal census. The most recent census was conducted in 2010 and showed that Connecticut’s population grew by nearly 5 percent to about 3.6 million people.
One of the biggest changes under the redistricting plan approved by the commission was the creation of a new House district that would encompass largely just the town of Windsor, which previously had been split into three House districts.
The House-redistricting plan that was approved also will shift 994 people in Groton’s 41st District into the 40th District, which is also in Groton. The move, commission members said, was needed to correct an error in the 2010 federal census data, which moved those residents from the 40th to the 41st district.
Commission leaders said the redistricting effort was a daunting task, but a fair and open process devoid of the political shenanigans that often accompany such efforts in other states.
“We didn’t always agree and sometimes things got hot in the room, but this was a fundamentally bipartisan process,” said Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams, a Brooklyn Democrat.
Maps and reports of the commission’s redistricting plans will be available on the panel’s Web site sometime Thursday, commission staffers said.