Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Maryland Senate Approves Gov. O'Malley's Redistricting Plan // House Status Still Unclear

UPDATE: The AP is reporting that the Maryland Senate approved Governor O'Malley's redistricting plan on a 33-13 vote. All GOP members voted against the plan, and one Democrat joined them: Prince George's Sen. Anthony Muse, an African American minister. Notably, Mr. Muse is weighing a Primary Election challenge to U.S. Senator Ben Cardin. Meanwhile, according to an anonymous Delegate, this will now send the plan to the House. Our source earlier in the day gave Maryland Juice the following insights into the timing and process in the House: 
The amendment for Donna Edwards' alternative is drafted. No decisions yet. The time to offer amendments and debate will be on the house floor tomorrow. Its all on the Senate side today. Supposedly the Senate had to pull it back one step to 2nd reader to make a technical correction. The plan will come to the house at 5pm. We will "special order" it until tomorrow as a courtesy to anyone who wants to offer amendments. 
Here's the latest in the ongoing saga concerning Congressional redistricting in Maryland. After talking to a random assortment of area politicos, the State Senate appears ready to approve Governor O'Malley's proposed redistricting plan, but the status in the Maryland House of Delegates is murky. Indeed, Maryland Reporter today had this coverage of yesterday's redistricting deliberations in the State Assembly:
The state Senate is set to vote today to approve Gov. Martin O’Malley’s congressional redistricting plan after rejecting a Republican alternative Monday night.... 
The vote happened hours after the special Senate Committee on Reapportionment and Redistricting approved O’Malley’s plan with no changes and no debate on a straight party line vote Monday afternoon.... 
The 15-member committee met barely 15 minutes after they had heard three hours of testimony on the plan that the governor didn’t officially submit until Saturday evening. Ten Democrats voted for the plan, and all four Republicans opposed the plan.
My sources, however, seem to have no clue what is going to happen in the Maryland House, and they just went back into session (12:30 pm on Tuesday). At last check, the civil rights oriented non-profit Fannie Lou Hamer Project was still threatening a Voting Rights lawsuit, and it is still possible that Delegates will introduce Rep. Donna Edward's alternative plan in the House. This is all happening, because, as the Baltimore Sun noted:
In the House of Delegates, a "no" vote from more than 13 Democrats out of 98 could scuttle the plan if all Republicans oppose it.
We are also hearing that as the Maryland House gets closer to reaching a final outcome, there is an increasing showdown emerging among members of the black caucus, so this could get hairy. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, I'll leave you with two bits of amusement. First, a reader emailed us Maryland's Interactive Redistricting Map:
It's actually pretty good.  You can zoom to detailed street level (showing just how many MoCo neighborhoods are being sliced and diced) and you can toggle between the GRAC plan and the Governor's plan, as well as the 2002 map.  Have fun!
Lastly, on Maryland Juice's Facebook page, we stumbled upon what appears to be a few UMD students commenting on Rep. John Sarbanes' new CD3. Their critiques of the map below are both insightful and pretty darn funny (too soon???):

A Range of Facebook Comments on the New CD3:
  • "I never knew you could use over-water lines to make district enclaves 'contiguous' with the rest. Well played, Maryland."
  • "what's funnier is sarbanes himself lives in ruxton which means he literally lives on the northern border of his own district. sarbanes is a good guy, welcome to the district"
  • "I just want to keep Donna forever. :( i mean, i don't dislike sarbanes. i just don't think you can effectively represent a district that has the geographical consistency of a shattered piece of glass."


  1. woody brosnan wrote,
    I live in Van Hollen's district under the current plan and the new plan. My serious concern about the plan stems from my work with Safe Silver Spring. Van Hollen and Edwards were instrumental in getting a federal grant for a bi-county task force on gangs. Under the governor's plan, Sarbanes would represent one the most troubled area of Montgomery County from a crime standpoint. Can he deal with those issues effectively from Ruxton?

  2. I think it is very unfair to cast Sen. Muse's No as anything other than registering the previous concerns from the black caucus and the black community in general. To assume it has anything to do with his run for the US Senate is to assume wrong.