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Legislative leaders whip up a new Congressional map

The new Congressional redistricting map
Maryland Senate
The new Congressional redistricting map

Maryland’s legislative leaders announced Monday they have a new Congressional redistricting map to send to the General Assembly.

The announcement came just three days after Judge Lynne Battaglia threw out the map the General Assembly adopted in December.

In her 94-page opinion issued Friday, Judge Battaglia, a retired appeals court judge appointed to the case by the Court of Appeals, agreed with two groups of Republicans who had sued over the map. She called it “an extreme gerrymander” that violates Maryland’s constitutional requirements to be compact and to respect the boundaries of political subdivisions.

Senate President Bill Ferguson and Speaker of the House of Delegates Adrienne Jones released a joint statement Monday saying the new map, drafted over the weekend, will be introduced to the General Assembly and subject to a joint hearing early Tuesday.

That would meet the March 30 deadline set in Judge Battaglia’s order.

They said in their statement they “worked expeditiously” to draft a new map that “reflects the new requirements as set forth by Judge Battaglia.”

Jones and Ferguson said the new map is contingent on the loss of an appeal and they expect to have it on Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk this week.

Shortly afterward, the House of Delegates Republican Caucus issued a statement applauding Judge Battaglia’s ruling and calling on lawmakers to adopt a map created by the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission, a panel appointed by Gov. Hogan.

The General Assembly rejected that map during the December special session.

The action comes with only two weeks left in the General Assembly’s regular session as lawmakers scramble to get bills legalizing recreational marijuana, establishing paid family and medical leave and reducing Maryland’s carbon footprint to the governor’s desk in time to override potential vetoes.

Joel McCord is a trumpet player who learned early in life that that’s no way to make a living.
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