Thursday, February 23, 2012
Governor Martin O’Malley talks about the redistricting process.
Senate President Mike Miller talks about the redistricting process.
WBAL News has learned neither the House of Delegates or the Maryland Senate are planning to vote on a plan to set new boundaries for the state’s 47 legislative districts, by tomorrow.
That means under legislative rules, the plan proposed by Governor Martin O’Malley automatically takes effect tomorrow.
CLICK HERE to view the new boundaries of legislative districts proposed by the governor.
The governor’s plan, which was formally unveiled last month, eliminates one of the six districts in Baltimore City, due to population losses, and replaces that district with one that is split between Baltimore City and Baltimore County.
The plan also increases the number of majority African-American districts from 10 to 12, and creates a new Hispanic majority district in Prince George’s County.
Both Baltimore County Democratic Senators Delores Kelley and Jim Brochin have complained the governor’s proposal shifts their district into areas of the county where Republicans outnumber Democrats.
Maryland Republican Party leaders have complained the legislature is not bothering to consider alternatives to the governor’s plan.
Senate President Mike Miller told WBAL News that none of the alternatives have been introduced in the Senate. Miller said if they had been introduced in the Senate, there would have been hearings on them.
As many as eight alternative proposals have been introduced in the House of Delegates.
Aides to House Speaker Michael Busch told WBAL News that the alternative proposals have already been considered by the redistricting panel that helped draft the governor’s plan, and were rejected.
The aide said that the House has other issues to consider, and alternatives to the governor’s plan would likely be rejected.
Senator Brochin told WBAL News that he believes Democratic leaders changed the boundaries of his district because he has differed with Miller and O’Malley on a number of issues, including tax hikes, and repealing the death penalty.
“The premise wasn’t to nail me, but I was certainly the most expendable, and I think I was because leadership is not my boss, the people back home are my bosses, and those are the people I’m going to listen to,” Brochin told WBAL News.
Brochin has introduced legislation that would change the redistricting process in Maryland.
Currently, the governor and legislative leaders appoint members to a commission. Under Brochin’s bill, they would still appoint members of the commission, but the process would be overseen by the non-partisan Department of Legislative Services. Under the bill, the panel could not consider party registration, or even a lawmaker’s current address in determining the boundaries of districts.
Those districts would be based on population.
Borchin’s bills will be the subject of a hearing today of the Senate Education Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.
Miller expects Brochin and other lawmakers unhappy with the redistricting map to file a lawsuit to try to block it. Brochin told WBAL News that he is considering it.
In 2002, lawmakers approved new legislative districts, only to have the plan ruled unconstitutional by the Maryland Court of Appeals. The Court later imposed its own map.
Governor Martin O’Malley Wednesday acknowledged that the redistricting process is difficult.
“No body is every happy coming out of redistricting. There’s a lot of adjustment, and a lot of shift, but I think we were able to accomplish a difficult task with a minimal amount of disruption,” O’Malley said.
The new legislative districts would take effect with the 2014 election.
… Surprise, surprise. …