Legislature to take up Congressional Redistricting
The General Assembly will convene next week to consider Congressional redistricting. The legislature will be faced with two competing maps. The first is a product of the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission. And the second is the work of the Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission.
Governor Larry Hogan established the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission (MCRC) through an Executive Order back in January of this year. The nine member commission is “charged with drawing fair legislative and congressional maps for the 2022 elections,” according to his press release. The membership includes three Democrats, three Republicans, and three independents. Governor Hogan has continually pressed the legislature to adopt new standards for redistricting ever since he first took office in 2014. The MCRC submitted the following on November 5 – MCRC Final Recommended Maps.
The General Assembly, meanwhile, created its own group to tackle the task of redistricting. Senate President Bill Ferguson and House Speaker Adrienne Jones convened a group of six lawmakers, themselves included, to constitute the Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission (LRAC). This commission is headed by the former executive director of the Department of Legislative Services, Karl Aro. The LRAC adopted the following map on November 23 – LRAC Congressional District Map.
While it was always anticipated each commission’s maps would differ in how the boundaries were drawn, the legislature has the ultimate say in who voters will be casting their ballots for come next November. Currently, Democrats have a vast majority in both chambers and can override a gubernatorial veto of any map they produce if they so choose.
General Assembly Must Take Up Gubernatorial Vetoes
Governor to also introduce crime bills
In addition to Congressional redistricting, the General Assembly must, by constitution, take up gubernatorial vetoes from the regular session earlier this year. Governor Hogan vetoed more than 50 bills passed by the General Assembly during their annual 90-day session that ended in April. Among the legislation vetoed are bills changing the applicability of the state’s prevailing wage laws and enabling legislation for local governments to impose a county income tax on a bracket basis.
Also included in the list of bills vetoed by the Governor, is the legislature’s police reform package. The General Assembly passed legislation to address police misconduct in the wake of reports out of the Baltimore Police Department.
Governor Hogan has announced he will reintroduce his own crime package during the abbreviated session. The aim of which is to address rising crime rates in Baltimore City and repeat offenders. Similar legislation from the Governor was approved by the Senate after negotiations during the regular session but failed to gain traction in the House.
For a complete list of vetoed legislation that will be considered by the General Assembly, please visit the General Assembly’s website here.