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Senate advances legislative redistricting map spelling end of the line for Hogan-backed map

Maryland Senate Joel McCord/WYPR

Maryland’s Senate approved on a party-line vote Thursday a plan that makes changes in their own districts, but not before a heated debate about voting rights unfolded.

Sen. Nancy King, a Montgomery County Democrat who chairs the Reappropriationment and Redistricting committee, voiced faith in the map.

“It demonstrates a commitment to the Federal Voting Rights Act,” she said. “It ensures continuity of representation by keeping the majority of Marylanders in their current districts. And it maintains a maximum district population deviation of no more than 4%,” King said.

But some Republicans, like Senator Edward Reilly of Anne Arundel County, said the map disenfranchises independent voters.

“Forty to 43 of these districts, both Rs and Ds will be decided by the primary election. When you look at how many people came out in your primary election. Those are the people,” Reilly said.

A different map proposed by the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission, a bipartisan committee assembled by Governor Larry Hogan, was rejected by the Senate earlier this week. Republicans in the Senate attempted to reintroduce the map by an amendment Wednesday, but their efforts were thwarted.

The bill now heads to the House of Delegates, where it likely will be reviewed next week.

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