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Senate approves new Congressional map

Maryland Senate
Joel McCord/WYPR
Maryland Senate

The Maryland Senate approved a new Congressional redistricting map Tuesday on a straight party line vote.

The map is to replace one that Judge Lynn Battaglia, a retired appeals court judge appointed to the case by the Court of Appeals, rejected Friday. She called it “an extreme gerrymander” that violates Maryland’s constitutional requirements to be compact and to respect the boundaries of political subdivisions.

Senate Republicans agreed the new map looks better than the one Judge Battaglia threw out, but they argued it still amounts to partisan gerrymandering. They peppered Democrats with questions about how certain districts were drawn.

Sen. Michael Hough, who represents parts of Frederick and Carroll counties, questioned the way Carroll County was divided.

“I mean, what was the reason for breaking into Carroll County,” he asked. “You're only grabbing, I'm going to guess 60-70,000 people at the bottom of Carroll County. Why not leave Carroll County intact?

Sen. Melony Griffith, the senate president pro tem, said every Senator might have a different idea of how to draw the districts, but they only had five days to meet a court order for a new map and meet voting rights acts and population requirements.

“And so I agree with you,” she said. “We could do puts and takes all day in different configurations.But the population is what it is, and the map is responsive to the court order.”

The map goes to the House for final action, then back to the court.

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