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May 16, 2011 8:01 PM by Matt Stafford

Panel begins redrawing state district lines

DENVER (AP) - A panel tasked with drawing new legislative boundaries next year began work by hearing from Colorado's demographer about the big population gains Hispanics made during the last decade.

The state's districts must be the same size, so they're redrawn after every Census to account for population change. The Front Range is expected to pick up seats, especially in Denver's southern suburbs and the Colorado Springs area. The Eastern Plains' population has been flat or decreasing over the last decade.

Demographer Elizabeth Garner told the 11-member reapportionment panel Monday that February Census data shows the Hispanic population grew by 41 percent since 2000. The statewide population grew by nearly 17 percent during that time.

The panel will submit its plan for 65 House and 35 Senate districts to the state Supreme Court by October.

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