A new nine-member commission is being tasked with redrawing Maryland’s sixth congressional district, under an executive order Gov. Larry Hogan signed Monday.
The move follows a ruling by the U.S. District Court in Baltimore earlier this month that the Western Maryland district was unconstitutionally gerrymandered to benefit Democrats. The court gave the state until March to submit a new, more fair map.
At a news conference Monday, Hogan said that timeline necessitates moving forward without the General Assembly’s input.
“In a little over 90 days, we have to draw a map. The legislature’s not here for the first part of that, and we’ve been negotiating back and forth with them for three years with no progress,” he said. “So we’re going to try to draw the most fair district we possibly can, assuming they don’t want to be a part of that process.”
He said he also plans to introduce legislation in January creating a new redistricting process to be used going forward. He has tried unsuccessfully to pass the same bill for a few years. But he said if the General Assembly approves the measure quickly this time, the state could use that new process to draw the sixth district now.
Meanwhile, the court’s ruling is temporarily on hold pending the results of an appeal by Attorney General Brian Frosh. Frosh’s office declined to comment.