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Senate committee approves legislative redistricting map; rejects map backed by Hogan

Maryland Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission map
Maryland Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission
The Maryland Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission map, which is headed to the Senate floor for a vote.

A State Senate committee adopted a hotly contested legislative redistricting map Tuesday, rejecting the one Governor Larry Hogan was pushing. It comes roughly six weeks after the General Assembly approved an equally controversial Congressional redistricting map during the December special session.

The Senate Reapportionment and Redistricting committee voted 11 to 4 along party lines to approve the Legislative Redistricting Advisory Committee’s map moving it to the full Senate, which is expected to approve it by week’s end.

Senator Paul Pinsky a Prince George’s County Democrat, a supporter of the approved map, says he believes residents will be comfortable with the changes.

"I think a lot of this proposal keeps the current borders in place. It keeps communities of interest, municipalities together, it keeps the same district for a lot of legislators, and I don't think they're egregious. And I think the less confusion you give to voters, the better," Pinsky said.

Among other noteworthy changes, the new map creates a single member majority black district around Owings Mills in Baltimore County.

But, opponents say the fight is far from over. Doug Mayer, a spokesman for Fair Maps Maryland and former Hogan staffer, says the map is gerrymandered to benefit sitting legislators.

"Legislators are human beings, and human beings are almost always going to do the things that benefit themselves, right? And so when you have legislators, picking their own voters, and drawing their own maps, well, of course, they're going to pick voters and draw their own districts that are beneficial to them," Mayer said.

The House of Delegates is expected to take up the map next week.

Callan Tansill-Suddath is a State House Reporter for WYPR, where she covers the General Assembly.