News from Annapolis
2017 Session: Week 13                    Delegate Trent Kittleman - District 9A

Special Edition on Redistricting


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Governor Hogan's Redistricting Bill
Maryland's 3rd Congressional District: the "broken-winged pterodactyl"
Majority Party doesn't want to "Unilaterally Disarm"
          Seldom has there been so much agreement, among so many people and organizations of different political persuasions about one issue: the need to reform our redistricting process. 
         There is only ONE group that disagrees: elected Democrats.  
          You have to give them credit: they are forthright about the reason. As their floor leader on the bill said in the House, "we don't want to unilaterally disarm."  
          What this metaphor says is that the majority party in Maryland doesn't want to give up the power to draw redistricting lines in their favor unless a state in which Republicans are the majority agrees to do the same thing.  In fact, that is exactly what the House Bill (HB 367) proposed as an alternative to the Governor's redistricting bill.  Such redistricting would occur, only:
"contingent on the enactment of a [substantially similar] nonpartisan congressional districting process . . . in each of the following mid-Atlantic region states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina."  
Fiscal and Policy Note - Revised, HB 367, Del. Reznik, et al.

          Not only is the likelihood of this actually happening, the majority party went even further.  In the oft chance that the other five states did act, and Maryland was required to enact the provisions of the bill, HB 367 applies
only to Congressional redistricting -- not to Legislative redistricting!  
         The majority accomplished this slight of hand because of the quirk in the law that requires the Legislative Redistricting process to be changed only through a Constitutional amendment.  Congressional redistricting can be changed merely by law.  
          The Governor's bill included the provision for a Constitutional amendment to ensure that our legislative districts would be drawn by an impartial, non-political commission.
          I wonder if the majority party realizes that the current Republican Governor is has the second-highest approval rating of any governor in the Country.  Do they realize that there is a very good possibility that Governor Hogan may be re-elected?  Do they realize that if he is, Republican Governor Hogan will be in charge of drawing the redistricting maps?  Are they worried that the worm might turn?
          Probably not.  Unfortunately, Governor Hogan can be trusted to do the right thing!
Summary of the Bill's Provisions
Drawing the lines for Congressional and Legislative districts will be done by a 9-member "Commission."
  • Three members must be registered (for at least five consecutive years) with the party with the highest registration in the State
  • Three members must be registered (for at least five consecutive years) with the party with the second highest registration in the State
  • Three members may not be registered (and may not have been for at least five consecutive years) with either of the above two parties,
Membership on the Commission is carefully restricted .  For the period five years preceding the appointment:
  • Neither the member nor any immediate family member may have been a candidate for election to the General Assembly or Congress
  • May not have served as an officer, an employee, or a paid consultant of a political party or the political committee of a candidate for elective federal or state office, or a political Party Central committee
  • May not be a regulated lobbyist in Maryland
  • May not be or have been a staff member or consultant to a anyone under contract to the Governor, a member of the General Assembly or a member of Congress; nor may a Commissioner be or have been a staff member or consultant to any immediate family member of the Governor, a member of the General Assembly, or a member of Congress
  • Neither the member nor an immediate family member may have donated $2,000 or more to any candidate for public office
  • In addition, Commissioners must agree that for the five years from the date of appointment, no Commissioner may:
    • o   Hold any appointed position in federal, state or local public office
    • o   Serve as paid staff for the General Assembly or any individual legislator
    • o   Register as a federal, state, county or municipal lobbyist in Maryland
How the Commissioners are Chosen:
  • The "Legislative Auditor" (the "LA") organizes and oversees the process.
  • In the appropriate years, the LA will prepare an application, and advertise the request for applications to serve on the Commission from all registered voters in the State.
  • The LA will collect and review the applications and will remove any applicant who does not meet the criteria listed above.
  • Selecting from the applicant pool will be done by a panel of three "Independent Auditors," whose names shall be drawn by the LA from all auditors employed and licensed by the state.
    • o   one of the auditors must be registered with the party having the highest number of registered voters;
    • o   one of auditors must be a member of the party with the second highest number of registered voters; and
    • o   one of the auditors must be someone who is not registered with either of the other two parties.
    • o   The three independent auditors will select 30 names from the applicant pool, 10 from the party with the highest number of registered voters; 10 from the party with the second highest number of registered voters, and 10 who are not members of either of those two parties.
    • o   The Independent Auditors will select these 30 applicants based on relevant analytical skills, ability to be impartial, and appreciation for the State's diverse demographics and geography.
    • o   The LA will then randomly select three applicants from each of the three sub pools, and those nine individuals will comprise the Commission.
Criteria for drawing legislative is as follows:
  • Shall be as nearly equal in population as practicable, but may NOT deviate more than 2% in population
  • Each Senator shall be from a single-member district
  • Each Legislator may be from a single-member district or a three-member district.
  • Each legislative district shall consist of adjoining territory, be compact in form, and of substantially equal population. Due regard shall be given to natural boundaries and the boundaries of political subdivisions.
Adoption of the Redistricting Plan
  • A member of the General Assembly may not introduce a bill containing a redistricting plan different from the plan submitted by the Commission.
  • The Presiding Officers will introduce the bill containing the Plan from the Commission.
  • The General Assembly may adopt or reject the Plan submitted by the Commission; adoption requires a three-fifths vote of each house
  • If the General Assembly rejects the Plan, or if Governor vetoes the bill and the veto is upheld, the Plan is returned to the commission, with suggestions, and the Commission will submit another Plan
  • If the second Plan is rejected, the Commission submits a plat to the Court of Appeals to review and establish the map and plan for redistricting.

Delegate Trent Kittleman
District 9A, Western Howard County and Southern Carroll County (Sykesville)
Room 202, Lowe House Office Building
6 Bladen Street,   Annapolis, MD 21401
410-841-3556  *   Trent.Kittleman@House.State.MD.US
Interim Office
3000 Kittleman Lane,  West Friendship, MD 21794
301-661-3344  *
Administrative AideChelsea Leigh Murphy