State Roundup: Democratic leaders launch their own redistricting commission

State Roundup: Democratic leaders launch their own redistricting commission

The front of the State House. Governor's Office photo

REDISTRICTING COMMISSION ANNOUNCED: Top Democrats in the Maryland General Assembly have chosen a new seven-member commission to study redistricting as politicians prepare for the once-in-a-decade redrawing of election maps, Bryn Stole reports for the Sun. The commission plans to hold 10 in-person meetings throughout the state and two virtual statewide meetings.

  • The redistricting effort in Maryland is expected to be closely watched, Ovetta Wiggins reports for the Post. That’s because Maryland has been called “one of the most gerrymandered states in the nation” by Common Cause, and RepresentUs, an anti-gerrymandering advocacy group, rated Maryland’s potential for partisan gerrymandering this cycle “extreme” in a May report.
  • The commission with be chaired by Karl Aro, the former executive director of the non-partisan Department of Legislative Services, and will also include six lawmakers with two being Republicans, Bennett Leckrone reports for Maryland Matters.

STATE GOES WITH PRIVATE FIRM IN UNEMPLOYMENT LAW SUIT: Maryland is paying for a private law firm to defend the governor’s decision to end federal unemployment programs early, Pamela Wood reports for the Sun. How much the state is paying to law firm Venable is unclear, but the state is not represented by Attorney General Brian Frosh after he made public comments against Gov. Larry Hogan’s decision. Lawyers will present arguments in the case Friday afternoon.

DLS BUILDING TO BE REPLACED: The aging Department of Legislative Services building on Lawyers Mall in Annapolis is set to be demolished and replaced, Bryan Sears reports for The Daily Record. The project could cost up to $120 million and is starting the design phase. The agency housed there provides support operations for the General Assembly like research and bill drafting.

PROJECT HOLDS THREATENED AS BELTWAY WIDENING SIDELINED: With plans to widen the American Legion Bridge and I-270 corridor sidelined, Maryland’s Deputy Secretary of Transportation R. Earl Lewis Jr. has written a letter to a regional panel naming 15 projects that could be put on hold, without expected funding Kate Ryan reports for WTOP.

REPORT LOOKS INTO BALTIMORE POLICE OVERTIME PAY: Baltimore police officers earn double pay by using paid time off and overtime simultaneously, Emily Sullivan reports for WYPR. The practice is explicitly allowed by the department in agreement with the FOP, but a new report from the Baltimore Office of the Inspector General said that it “could be perceived as wasteful.”

MINORITY ENTREPRENEURS GET READY FOR SPORTS BETTING: Maryland’s launch of sports betting is a rare opportunity for minority entrepreneurs to participate in an industry as it begins, Pamela Wood reports for the Sun. Maryland’s new sports betting law includes an abundance of licenses and a grant program for minority entrepreneurs funded by application fees from the big players in the industry.

WEST BMORE NEIGHBORHOOD MAKES LAST STAND AGAINST CITY REDEVELOPMENT: The historic neighborhood of Poppleton is making a last stand as residents prepare to be displaced for a city-facilitated plan to develop by La Cité Development, Mark Reutter reports for Baltimore Brew. Neighbors living at the rainbow of pastel-colored alley houses have maintained it and pushed out nearby drug dealers, creating a neighborhood playground, but that hasn’t kept the city from using its eminent domain powers as it proceeds with a slow-moving development project, Reutter writes.

CAPITAL GAZETTE SHOOTING TRIAL CONTINUES: Prosecutors will call witnesses Friday to show that the gunman from the Capital Gazette newsroom shooting should not be considered insane, and should be held criminally responsible for his actions, Lilly Price reports for the Capital Gazette.

COVID VACCINATIONS HIT THREE-QUARTERS OF POPULATION: Maryland has achieved 75% of its adult residents vaccinated with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, Joseph Hauger reports for The Garrett County Republican. Of those aged 65 and up, 92% have received a vaccination.

INVESTIGATE RECURRING POLITICAL DONATIONS: Attorneys general in four states including Maryland are looking into online recurring donation platforms for both parties, Steve Thompson and Amy Wang report for the Post. Republican fundraising platform WinRed is asking federal courts to stop the investigation, saying consumer protection laws involved are preempted by federal law.
DC SUBURBS RELIGIOUSLY DIVERSE: Maryland’s Montgomery County and Howard County are among the nation’s most religiously diverse, Mark Kellner reports for The Washington Times. The D.C. counties scored high in the seven-year survey of more than 500,000 U.S. adults by District-based Public Religion Research Institute.

NEW HOSTS FOR WEAA SHOW: Morgan State University’s public radio station, underwent a change in hosts  this week with Anthony McCarthy and Cara Williams taking over the 5 to 7 p.m. weekday time period previously held by Farajii Muhammad, David Zurawik reports for the Sun. Muhammad had served as a host at WEAA-FM for 16 years.

  • Maryland Reporter’s Len Lazarick will be on the show at 5 p.m. Friday, 88.9 FM and live streamed.

About The Author

Meg Tully

megctully@gmail.com
http://MarylandReporter.com

Contributing Editor Meg Tully has been covering Maryland politics for more than five years. She has worked for The Frederick News-Post, where she reported during the General Assembly session in Annapolis. She has also worked for The (Hanover) Evening Sun and interned at Baltimore Magazine. Meg has won awards from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association for her state and county writing, and a Keystone Press Award for feature writing from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association. She is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. If you have additional questions or comments contact Meg at: megctully@gmail.com

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