Annapolis - March 20, 2017 - Today, the state legislature put politics ahead of policy – killing strong legislation that would have made Maryland a leader on redistricting reform. In its place, the Senate is moving a bill that creates a false promise of reform, committing to end the gerrymander in Maryland only if five other states – from New York to North Carolina – take action as well.
Redistricting reform has failed to make any progress for decades, and while we are grateful that the Senate is taking action, we are deeply disappointed that their solution lies in a binding trigger provision. We understand the desire to wait to act in Maryland until more states across the country have depoliticized their redistricting processes. But we firmly believe Marylanders deserve fair representation now, and that Maryland should not wait for other states before acting.
District maps are supposed to reflect the ideal of “one person, one vote.” District maps need to give fair representation to all, to protect communities, and to create districts that a legislator can understand and speak for. Our organizations are committed to promoting public policy that works for the people. We are saddened that HB385, based on the recommendations of the bi-partisan Redistricting Reform Commission was rejected today. Marylanders deserve a fair process, and they deserve it now.
Legislative activity includes:
· The Redistricting Reform Act of 2017 (SB 252/HB 385, Governor) codifies the report from the Redistricting Reform Commission. HB 385 voted unfavorably in House Rules and Executive Nominations.
· SB 1023 - Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission - Mid-Atlantic States Regional Districting Process. Moved favorable with amendments in Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee.
Statement from Common Cause Maryland and the League of Women Voters of Maryland on the activity in the legislature today on redistricting reform.