Nine Bills Attempt to Amend Maryland’s Redistricting Process; None Likely to Pass

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Apparently, the splattery spiral that is Maryland’s Congressional district map has finally ruffled enough feathers since its acceptance in November that lawmakers have introduced nine separate bills that alter the redistricting process to make it less likely for us to end up with such an absolutely embarrassing map.

And it’s not just Republicans, the biggest losers under the new Congressional and legislative districts, who have had enough of unchecked gerrymandering in the state. Sen. Jim Brochin, a Baltimore County Democrat, is sponsoring three of the bills even though his district has been redrawn in his favor. “I don’t think the politicians should be choosing their voters,” Brochin told Maryland Reporter. “The voters should choose their politicians.”

The bills present different approaches to extricating politics from the redistricting process. A couple of them propose redistricting be studied by a bipartisan and diverse task force. Another extends the public comment period once a new district plan is announced. Several suggest an independent commision draw the lines. One proposes requirements for Congressional districts, such as being “compact and contiguous, and consider natural and political subdivision boundaries.” Whaddyasay we throw in a tenth bill that forbids abstract expressionist painters from redrawing the districts?

Unfortunately, which isn’t to say surprisingly, none of the bills looks like it has a chance of passing. Sen. Joan Carter-Conway, a Democrat, gave this grim prognosis to Maryland Reporter: “They’ll probably mostly die.” Del. Steve Schuh, a Republican, said he thought it unlikely that enough Democrats would be willing “to let go of the benefits of gerrymandering.”



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