Maryland Democratic lawmakers pass new redistricting map

UPDATE (9 pm): Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh filed an appeal to throw out the newly approved congressional map. This comes after a majority judge rejected a previous map, calling it unconstitutional. UPDATE (5:30 pm): Maryland has a new congressional redistricting map — again. The Maryland House gave its final approval Wednesday night to a new congressional map after a judge rejected the first one. But it didn’t go without an attempt by Republicans to replace the map with one drawn by the independent panel convened by the governor, but that amendment failed. one day after sailing through the Senate in the same way. It now goes to the governor for his signature, and at the same time, it is submitted to Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Lynne Battaglia, who ordered lawmakers to go back to the drawing board.| RELATED: Judge orders General Assembly to redraw Congressional district mapLawmakers had until Wednesday to submit a new map as per the judge’s order from last week. Democrats said the new map is significantly more compact, complies the judge’s order and constitutional mandates.”The map was drawn by legislative staff. I would presume that they were guided by the judge’s decision, which prioritized compactness, in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General, which provided legal counsel,” said House Majority Leader Eric Luedtke, D-District 14, whose district is in Montgomery County. But Republicans remain strongly opposed, saying the new map is an improvement, but it’s still partisan gerrymandering that was drawn in secrecy without input from residents or Republican lawmakers.”The Republican Caucus and the citizens of the state deserve to have fair maps that are represented in a way that they have an opportunity to be heard,” said Calvert County Delegate Mark Fisher, R- District 27C. Battaglia is scheduled to preside Friday morning over a hearing in the civil case. ORIGINAL STORY: Maryland Democratic lawmakers are expected to give final approval l to a new congressional map Wednesday that would likely preserve a 7-1 advantage, five days after a judge struck down the first Democratic-drawn map this redistricting cycle for diluting the voice of Republican voters. The General Assembly, which is controlled by Democrats, have been scrambling to approve a new map for the state’s eight US House districts after Judge Lynne Battaglia ordered a new one to be drawn by Wednesday. The judge has scheduled a hearing for Friday to consider a new plan. The new map makes the congressional districts more compact, but Republican lawmakers contend it’s still riddled with unfair partisan gerrymandering. In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1, Democrats hold a 7-1 advantage in the US House. The map approved in December by a panel of lawmakers added Democrats to the lone Republican-held district, making a more competitive race for Republican Rep. Andy Harris. It also created the potential for Democrats to go 8-0 in Maryland. The new map would remove a portion that stretched Harris’ Eastern Shore district across the Chesapeake Bay into an area with more Democrats and would restore GOP strength in the 1st Congressional District. So far, courts have intervened to block maps they found to be GOP gerrymanders in North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania.The Maryland House advanced a measure Wednesday with a new map already approved by the Senate, and a final vote was expected to send the map to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan later in the day. Video below: Delegates debate new congressional redistricting mapIn her 94-page ruling, Battaglia described initial map as “product of extreme partisan gerrymandering.” She found it violated the state constitutional requirement that legislative districts consist of adjoining territory and be compact in form, with due regard for natural boundaries and political subdivisions. It also violated the state constitution’s free elections, free speech and equal protection clauses, she said. So far, however, the attorney general’s office has not announced an appeal. Hogan, who has long been critical of how the state’s political boundaries have been drawn, has been pushing for the adoption of a map by a panel he created by executive order. The governor has said that map was written by an independent panel that took politicians out of the process of drawing districts. Maryland’s highest court already had delayed the state’s primary in a big election year from June 28 to July 19. Voters will decide all 188 seats in the state Legislature, open statewide offices, such as governor, attorney general and comptroller, a US Senate seat and all eight congressional seats.

UPDATE (9 p.m.): Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh filed an appeal to throw out the newly approved congressional map.

Frosh filed the appeal less than an hour after the House of Delegates approved a revised map in a party line vote with a veto-proof majority.

This comes after a judge rejected a previous map, calling it unconstitutional.

UPDATE (5:30 p.m.): Maryland has a new congressional redistricting map — again.

The Maryland House gave its final approval Wednesday night to a new congressional map after a judge rejected the first one. But it didn’t go without an attempt by Republicans to replace the map with one drawn by the independent panel convened by the governor, but that amendment failed.

The bill passed the House in a party-line vote with a veto-proof majority, one day after sailing through the Senate in the same way.

It now goes to the governor for his signature, and at the same time, it is submitted to Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Lynne Battaglia, who ordered lawmakers to go back to the drawing board.

| RELATED: Judge orders General Assembly to redraw Congressional district map

Lawmakers had until Wednesday to submit a new map as per the judge’s order from last week. Democrats said the new map is significantly more compact, complies the judge’s order and constitutional mandates.

“The map was drawn by legislative staff. I would presume that they were guided by the judge’s decision, which prioritized compactness, in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General, which provided legal counsel,” said House Majority Leader Eric Luedtke, D- District 14, whose district is in Montgomery County.

But Republicans remain strongly opposed, saying the new map is an improvement, but it’s still partisan gerrymandering that was drawn in secrecy without input from residents or Republican lawmakers.

“The Republican Caucus and the citizens of the state deserve to have fair maps that are represented in a way that they have an opportunity to be heard,” said Calvert County Delegate Mark Fisher, R-District 27C.

Battaglia is scheduled to preside Friday morning over a hearing in the civil case.

ORIGINAL STORY: Maryland Democratic lawmakers are expected to give final approval to a new congressional map Wednesday that would likely preserve a 7-1 advantage, five days after a judge struck down the first Democratic-drawn map this redistricting cycle for diluting the voice of Republican voters.

The General Assembly, which is controlled by Democrats, have been scrambling to approve a new map for the state’s eight US House districts after Judge Lynne Battaglia ordered a new one to be drawn by Wednesday. The judge has scheduled a hearing for Friday to consider a new plan.

The new map makes the congressional districts more compact, but Republican lawmakers contend it’s still riddled with unfair partisan gerrymandering.

new congressional redistricting map

Maryland General Assembly

In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1, Democrats hold a 7-1 advantage in the US House. The map approved in December by a panel of lawmakers added Democrats to the lone Republican-held district, making a more competitive race for Republican Rep. Andy Harris. It also created the potential for Democrats to go 8-0 in Maryland.

The new map would remove a portion that stretched Harris’ Eastern Shore district across the Chesapeake Bay into an area with more Democrats and would restore GOP strength in the 1st Congressional District.

So far, courts have intervened to block maps they found to be GOP gerrymanders in North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The Maryland House advanced a measure Wednesday with a new map already approved by the Senate, and a final vote was expected to send the map to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan later in the day.

Video below: Delegates debate new congressional redistricting map

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In her 94-page ruling, Battaglia described initial map as “product of extreme partisan gerrymandering.” She found it violated the state constitutional requirement that legislative districts consist of adjoining territory and be compact in form, with due regard for natural boundaries and political subdivisions. It also violated the state constitution’s free elections, free speech and equal protection clauses, she said.

Senate President Bill Ferguson and House Speaker Adrienne Jones have said the new map is contingent on the loss of an appeal of the judge’s ruling. So far, however, the attorney general’s office has not announced an appeal.

Hogan, who has long been critical of how the state’s political boundaries have been drawn, has been pushing for the adoption of a map by a panel he created by executive order. The governor has said that map was written by an independent panel that took politicians out of the process of drawing districts.

Maryland’s highest court already had delayed the state’s primary in a big election year from June 28 to July 19. Voters will decide all 188 seats in the state Legislature, open statewide offices, such as governor, attorney general and comptroller, a US Senate seat and all eight congressional seats.

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