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House passes Congressional redistricting plan

CONCORD - The House approved the Senate's version of a congressional redistricting plan, voting 239-95 Wednesday in support of Senate Bill 202.

The vote followed vociferous objections from Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, R-Manchester, a frequent critic of the House speaker's approach to redistricting.

SB 202 would redraw the lines of the state's two congressional districts to result in a difference of four voters between the two.

Vaillancourt joined other critics of the plan to argue in favor of the House congressional redistricting plan passed last month. In a 10-minute speech, he called the House version 'sweet genius,' referencing a cooking show.

Following Valliancourt at the podium, Rep. Paul Mirski, R-Enfield Center, began by noting that all the talk of cooking was making him wish for an early lunch. This prompted Valliancourt to rise and object to being 'castigated,' which House Speaker William O'Brien, R-Mont Vernon, had faulted him for doing earlier in his speech.

Vallaincourt has clashed repeatedly with O'Brien, particularly over House redistricting plans. Last week O'Brien removed Vallaincourt from the House Finance Committee, citing a 'lack of collegiality.'

Mirski continued, saying the representatives shouldn't let 'pride of ownership' keep them from voting for the Senate plan, which has the backing of the current officeholders, Congressmen Frank Guinta and Charles Bass.

Opponents of the Senate plan said it would entail moving 19,000 voters from one district to another, while the House plan affects only 250.

The bill now heads to the governor.

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