Maryland panel OKs plan for state legislative districts

January 7, 2022 GMT

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A Maryland panel voted Friday to recommend a new map of legislative districts for state lawmakers.

The Legislative Redistricting Advisory Committee voted 4-2 along party lines. Four Democrats supported the map, and two Republicans opposed it.

The map for the boundaries of the 188 seats in the Maryland General Assembly will be submitted to the legislature next week, when lawmakers convene for their annual 90-day session.

Lawmakers will have 45 days to approve a new map after they convene Wednesday.

Senate President Bill Ferguson, a Baltimore Democrat on the panel, said the map keeps an overwhelming majority of state residents in their existing districts and adjusts for population changes in the state.

Republican Sen. Bryan Simonaire voted against the map, saying the panel missed an opportunity to address gerrymandering.

A separate state commission supported by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has a different proposal that the governor says takes politicians out of the process of drawing their own boundaries, but Democrats hold a supermajority in both chambers of the legislature and control the redistricting process in Maryland.

Lawmakers approved a new congressional map in a special session last month, but opponents are challenging it in court.