Days into the 2016 legislative session, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan named redistricting reform as one of his top priorities, saying that Maryland is one of the most gerrymandered states in the country. Thursday, his bill to accomplish that goal was scrutinized by the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. The bill, sponsored by House and Senate leadership at the request of the governor, requires an amendment to the Maryland Constitution and the creation of a commission to draw up new General Assembly and Congressional districts. General Assembly districts would be equally divided among population, with no more than a 2 percent change in population in any district, under the bill.
The legislation also emphasizes geography. Congressional districts would be contiguous and take into account the boundaries of cities and counties.
This is likely in response to Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District, which was nicknamed the “praying mantis” district by the Washington Post, and has also been said to resemble a “broken-winged pterodactyl, lying prostrate across the center of the state,” by a federal judge.
The 3rd District, which covers parts of Baltimore, Baltimore County, Howard, Montgomery and Anne Arundel, has been called one of the most gerrymandered districts in the country.
Full Article: Hogan’s redistricting bill debated in Senate committee.