Last Monday, Governor Larry Hogan amended an executive order to extend the work of the bi-partisan Maryland Redistricting Reform Commission until Nov. 8, 2017. The commission was appointed in August 2015 and issued its final report that November, before the 2016 General Assembly convened.
From The Frederick News-Post,
Walter Olson served as co-chairman for the commission’s first year of work. Olson said he’s not sure whether Hogan will change membership of the board for the new year, but several commission members wanted to continue their work at a meeting last week.
“We’ve got more to say,” Olson said.With an additional year of work, the commission can examine additional ideas for more representative congressional districts, Olson said. They would also likely hold public hearings in Montgomery County, which some lawmakers in Annapolis said was an egregious oversight in the commission’s first year of work, he said.
Olson chalked up the lack of an earlier meeting in Montgomery County to “ill fortune and lack of time.”
During last year’s session, half a dozen bills aimed at reforming the redistricting process, including one that Hogan proposed, failed.
Maryland’s congressional lines are drawn by the state legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto. The Governor may also propose a congressional plan for the state legislature to consider.
A federal lawsuit challenging the state’s current redistricting map, which was implemented in 2012, is pending in Federal Court.
Seventy-five percent of Maryland residents support shifting redistricting from elected officials to an independent commission, according to a February Goucher Poll.
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