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During a state Districting and Apportionment Commission meeting Thursday witnesses spoke for nearly five hours and were sharply divided on how to draw political districts. Ideas were debated like whether it made sense to assure state legislative districts were competitive or that wherever possible communities not have to share a politician with neighboring counties. Other issues were specific to legislative districts. It remained undetermined whether the commission would accept the delivery of U.S. Census data in August as the official start of the 90-day timeframe in which it will have to draw two congressional districts. Although the August data is expected to be sufficient, there is a final data release at the end of September which Republicans suggested should be the starting line for the 90-day dash to create two U.S. House districts.

In a meeting today the Commission will determine census data delivery among other things. Commission member Dan Stusek discussed developing criteria recently on Voices of Montana.

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