- Records: Man in Fla. theater shooting also was texting
- The Putin problem: U.S. needs Russian rockets for spy satellites
- Florida cops ticket toddler in toy convertible: report
- Kerry warns of ‘very serious’ response to Crimea-Russia alliance
- Fla. Rep. Alan Grayson’s wife drops restraining order against him
- McDonald’s lawsuits filed over wages ‘stolen’ like Hamburglar steals Big Macs
- HUMPHRIES: Fight like a Democrat – An open letter to Sen. Mitch McConnell
- Florida board member shocks with ‘Heil Hitler’ salute at town meeting
- Bill O’Reilly, Chris Matthews inducted into Irish America Hall of Fame
- Military given ‘execute order’ by Obama for secret cyber mission in June
Redistricting map clears hurdle in Md. assembly
O’Malley defends against criticism
ANNAPOLIS — The General Assembly gave preliminary approval Monday night to Gov. Martin O'Malley’s proposed congressional map, despite criticism by Republicans, some minorities and a Capitol Hill Democrat.
The Democrat-controlled Senate voted 24-12 in favor of Mr. O'Malley’s plan on the first day of a special redistricting session. The chamber is expected to give final approval Tuesday before sending the bill to the House.
“The map is balanced,” said Mr. O'Malley, a Democrat. “We are a state with some tremendously strong diversity and many strong communities. There is no voting-rights requirement that they all be packed into one district any more than there is a requirement that all nonminority people be packed into one district.”
The governor also said he would use the special session to gather support for a jobs package and to increase infrastructure spending in January’s regular session.
The governor specifically denied allegations the map would unfairly redraw Republican Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett’s 6th District to Democrats’ advantage and reduce minority voting power by splitting up their districts.
“It is possible to meet both our concerns of minority representation interests in Montgomery County and also to satisfy whatever broader political interests there are,” Rep. Donna F. Edwards said before a joint House-Senate committee. “We will not have a perfect map by any stretch, but we should come as close to perfect … as we can.”
Miss Edwards, who is black, is the only member of the state’s Democratic congressional caucus to publicly criticize the governor’s map.
She said the map disenfranchises Montgomery County minorities because it takes them from her 4th District, now composed of sections of Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, and replaces them with voters from a section of more conservative Anne Arundel County.
Miss Edwards, who is seeking a second full term, said such a change effectively would eliminate the possibility of Montgomery County electing another minority representative until perhaps the next redistricting, which follows every 10-year census.
She presented her own proposed map of the state’s eight congressional districts that would restore her presence in the eastern part of Montgomery and make her one of four congressional representatives to represent the county. The Maryland congressional delegation now has six Democrats and two Republicans, including Mr. Bartlett, who is seeking an 11th term.
Several Montgomery Democrats in the assembly spoke in support of Mr. O'Malley’s map, saying the county doesn’t need a predominantly minority district to elect a minority representative and that Miss Edwards‘ map would reduce the nonblack minority population within her district.
Republicans are criticizing the governor’s proposed map, which is based largely on the one recommended to him by the five-member advisory committee, for too drastically changing the 85-year-old Mr. Bartlett’s Western Maryland district. The map adds the predominantly liberal western half of Montgomery County while eliminating more conservative sections of Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick and Harford counties.
“The governor submitted a very flawed plan,” said state Sen. Edward J. Pipkin, Cecil Republican. “We’ll use this process to point that out.”
Mr. O'Malley said he and leading Democrats also would use the session to begin working toward legislation for next year’s session that would increase state spending on transit projects, new schools and other infrastructure to create construction and post-construction jobs.
The assembly likely will face a $1 billion budget deficit next year. The governor said the state’s financial woes are due more to an “investment deficit” than overspending and that infrastructure improvements will create direct and indirect jobs and revenue for the state.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Hill joined The Washington Times in February 2011 as a Maryland political reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Md. drivers could face eventual doubling of gas tax
- Federal appeals court restores Maryland's concealed carry law
- Md. bill would end student suspensions for mimicking gun behavior
- Maryland Senate passes bill decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana
- Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell assailed on transportation
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Emily Miller
Obama is losing the debate on gun ownership, concealed-carry permits
- USS Kidd sent to Indian Ocean after 'indication' of Malaysian jet crash
- Oil rig worker says he saw missing plane go down: report
- F-35 secrets now showing up in Chinas stealth fighter
- GOP bill tries to pull courts into fight with Obama on executive power, enforcing laws
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- MILLER: Law enforcement realizes good people with guns deter crime
- College group's diversity event canceled after excluding white people
- Details on ships, planes searching for missing jet
- Cops: 2 shoot up heroin as kids play at McDonald's
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again