Gover­nor de­cides state re­dis­trict­ing com­mis­sion will con­tinue its work

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By DANIELLE E. GAINES

— As vot­ers went to the polls last week to elect a new Congress, Gov. Larry Ho­gan amended an ex­ec­u­tive or­der to ex­tend the work of a bi­par­ti­san re­dis­trict­ing com­mis­sion.

Last Mon­day, Ho­gan (R) amended an early ex­ec­u­tive or­der to ex­tend the work of the Mary­land Re­dis­trict­ing Re­form Com­mis­sion un­til Nov. 8, 2017.

New Mar­ket res­i­dent Wal­ter Olson served as co-chair­man for the com­mis­sion’s first year of work. Olson said he’s not sure whether Ho­gan will change mem­ber­ship of the board for the new year, but sev­eral com­mis­sion mem­bers wanted to con­tinue their work at a meet­ing last week.

“We’ve got more to say,” Olson said.

With an ad­di­tional year of work, the com­mis­sion can ex­am­ine ad­di­tional ideas for more rep­re­sen­ta­tive con­gres­sional districts, Olson said.

The com­mis­sion was ap­pointed in Au­gust 2015 and is­sued its fi­nal re­port that Novem­ber, be­fore the 2016 Gen­eral As­sem­bly con­vened.

Dur­ing last year’s ses­sion, half a dozen bills aimed at re­form­ing the re­dis­trict­ing process, in­clud­ing one that Ho­gan pro­posed, failed.

A fed­eral law­suit chal­leng­ing the state’s cur­rent re­dis­trict­ing map re­mains pend­ing in fed­eral court. That map, cre­ated by Gov. Martin O’Mal­ley’s ad­min­is­tra­tion, was al­lowed to take ef­fect in 2012 with­out any changes from the Demo­crat­ic­con­trolled Leg­is­la­ture.

Seven of Mary­land’s eight seats in Congress are held by Democrats. With Demo­crat Jamie Raskin tak­ing over the 8th Dis­trict seat held by Chris Van Hollen, Democrats re­tained seven seats in last week’s elec­tion.

The party holds a 2-to-1 ma­jor­ity among reg­is­tered vot­ers in Mary­land.

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