Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday he will form a bipartisan commission to explore reforming Maryland’s legislative redistricting process. Hogan said his goal is to give the authority of redrawing the state’s legislative districts to an independent, bipartisan commission. Currently, the shaping of legislative districts every 10 years in Maryland is largely in the hands of the governor, who submits a proposed map to the Legislature, which votes on it. Critics say Maryland has some of the most gerrymandered congressional districts in the country. Gerrymandering is the process in which state officials draw congressional districts to benefit their party. “This is not a distinction that we should be proud of,” Hogan said near the end of his first State of the State speech. Hogan said he would form a commission by executive order to explore reforms.
Maryland’s legislative redistricting process has come under scrutiny in recent years. Opponents of the current map that was approved in 2011 gathered enough signatures to put the boundaries on the ballot for a statewide vote. The map was approved by voters in 2012.
Maryland’s 2011 redistricting process added a big chunk of Democrat-heavy Montgomery County to what had been a Republican stronghold in western Maryland. With a Democratic governor and Democrats holding strong majorities in the Legislature, there wasn’t much to get in the way of moving about 300,000 Montgomery County voters into the western Maryland district. The result: 10-term Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett was defeated in 2012. That gave Democrats a 7-1 edge over Republicans in the Maryland congressional delegation.
Full Article: Maryland Governor to Push for Redistricting Reform « CBS DC.