William J. Ford

Md. Redistricting Commission Scheduled to Hold First Meeting in Prince George’s County

The Maryland Legislative Advisory Commission announced Tuesday a schedule of statewide public hearings to review maps for congressional and state legislative districts.

The first of 10 hearings will take place Sept. 20 in Prince George’s County and the last one on Nov. 18 in Harford and Cecil counties.

Two virtual hearings will take place Oct. 5 and Nov. 15.

Sen. Bryan Simonaire (R-Anne Arundel County), one of the seven commission members, asked whether there will be bipartisanship to generate the maps or if the majority party would “go off and generate” a separate map.

Several critics, including Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, have called Maryland one of the most gerrymandered states in the country, referring to manipulation of district maps to benefit a particular group.

“I hope it would be a partisan effort,” said Karl Aro, chair of the commission and former executive director of the state’s Department of Legislative Services. “The idea is to try and draw a map and find a consensus around it.”

The process for officials to draw maps every 10 years is done to reflect changes in the population based on census data.

Democrats in Maryland outnumber Republicans 2 to 1 among registered voters and hold seven of the eight congressional seats on Capitol Hill.

Democratic lawmakers also hold a supermajority in Annapolis, controlling more than 100 of the 188 seats in the General Assembly.

Only comments on congressional and statewide maps will be addressed.

Locally in Prince George’s County, a three-member redistricting commission recommended approval for a new map Monday. County Council will hold public hearings Sept. 13-14 and grant final approval by Nov. 30.

House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D-Baltimore County) said Aro serving as chair brings experience to the group in making sure both parties receive equal representation in the discussion.

“I’m very confident that his nonpartisan leadership will help both parties and the public create better maps,” she said. “Population, not politics, will drive many of these decisions we will be making.”

William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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