State Roundup: Redistricting map passes House, likely heads to court

State Roundup: Redistricting map passes House, likely heads to court

In this 2022 photo, Del. Mark Fisher of Calvert County tries to show the House how the redistricting map they were about to pass violates the Maryland Constitution. Screen shot from floor session

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MD HOUSE APPROVES LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT MAP: Maryland lawmakers on Thursday — under the threat of litigation — approved new state legislative district lines that solidify Democrats’ control of the state General Assembly for the next decade. Ovetta Wiggins/The Washington Post

  • The plan, approved 95-42 along party lines, redraws the lines for 47 senators and 141 delegates. It cannot be vetoed by Gov. Larry Hogan, who adamantly opposed it. Bryan Sears/The Daily Record
  • The House thwarted Republican efforts to redraw the districts, including substituting a map drawn by a commission appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan and another move to substitute single member House districts for the current three member districts. Joel McCord/WYPR
  • Lawsuits over the new map will head directly to the Maryland Court of Appeals. Hogan has appointed five of the top court’s seven current judges, including his former chief legislative officer, Chief Judge Joseph M. Getty. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters

COMMENTARY: MARYLAND DEMS ARE HYPOCRITES ABOUT GERRYMANDERING Looking at what happened with Congressional districts set during a redistricting process in 2021’s special session, it is crystal clear that, as one of the bluest states in the country, Maryland could be the nation’s most hypocritical state in dealing with the congressional redistricting. Howard Gorrell/Maryland Reporter

HEALTH OFFICER TESTIFIES ABOUT THREATS: Washington County’s public health officer testified Tuesday about being threatened and his child harassed at school as Maryland lawmakers consider a bill aimed at making threats against a public health official or hospital staff member a separate criminal offense. Julie E. Greene and Michael D. Garcia/Hagerstown Herald-Mail

JUVENILE RIGHT TO COUNSEL BILL IN COMMITTEE: Defense and civil rights attorneys urged lawmakers Thursday to pass legislation providing juveniles an unwaivable right to counsel before being interrogated by law enforcement, saying youngsters do not fully comprehend their right to remain silent and are susceptible to giving false confessions. Steve Lash/The Daily Record

  • Calling the bill a “no-brainer,” during a hearing before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Thursday, Sen. Jill Carter argued existing policies expose kids to unnecessary risks in the justice system and doesn’t give due process. Callan Tansill-Suddath/WYPR

 REDUCING ROAD SALT USE: As winter weather impacts the state, Garrett County is part of Maryland’s efforts to reduce the use of ice-melting salts that can threaten public health and the environment, including drinking water, while keeping traffic moving safely. Brenda Ruggiero/The Garrett County Republican

 CLEAN ENERGY RECEPTION: The Maryland Clean Energy Center’s 2022 Legislative Reception will feature guest legislators and speakers, with a featured panel to discuss Energy & the Built Environment: Strategies Aimed at Addressing Climate Change. This panel session will examine the challenges, opportunities, and recommendations related to building de-carbonization to achieve demand reduction goals from the perspective of consumers, industry, and utilities. Tickets are on sale now for this hybrid event on Feb. 17, with an in-person luncheon in Annapolis. All registrants will receive program recordings.

LAWSUIT FILED OVER BALTIMORE CITY SCHOOL OUTCOMES: A former Republican candidate for City Council president and a former city school teacher have filed a lawsuit against Baltimore City and its public school system for what they describe as a sweeping failure to provide an adequate public education, wasting public funds and defrauding taxpayers in the process. Lillian Reed/The Baltimore Sun

  • The lawsuit alleges that because students continue to struggle in the classroom, perform poorly on standardized tests, grading irregularities, and inaccurate enrollment numbers, the taxpayers of Baltimore are forced to foot the bill for not only a broken education system but added cost for the criminal justice and social welfare system as well. Mikenzie Frost/WBFF

SHOEMAKER DRAFTING BILLS TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM SEX OFFENDERS: Maryland House Minority Whip Del. Haven Shoemaker is currently drafting two pieces of legislation he says are aimed at helping to protect children throughout the state from sexual predators, closing loopholes for sex offenders offering babysitting and requiring background clearance checks for youth sports volunteers. Madison Bateman/Carroll County Times

LAWMAKERS BRING CRIME BILLS TO ADDRESS CITY CRIME: Members of the Baltimore City delegation in Annapolis said they are urgently working on new crime-fighting proposals to provide resources to law enforcement and prosecutors. David Collins/WBAL TV

AFGHAN REFUGEES BRING CONCERNS: Advocates expressed concern this week that some Afghan refugees have said they are not receiving adequate health care and other assistance as they seek to build new lives in the Baltimore area. The refugees are being resettled by the International Rescue Committee, with state services available after that if the federal government officially places them in Maryland. Jean Marbella/The Baltimore Sun

FREE MASK DISTRIBUTION TO BEGIN: Frederick County Public Libraries will be giving out free KN95 masks in packs of five starting Friday, part of a statewide distribution of 20 million N95 and KN95 masks, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended over other types of face coverings for protecting against COVID infection. Jack Hogan/Frederick News-Post

OPIOID SETTLEMENT MONEY APPROVED: Carroll County commissioners agreed this week to execute an agreement which may result in a direct payment of $3.5 million to the county for use in opioid abatement. Madison Bateman/Carroll County Times

Scott Hancock

COVID-19: GARRETT REACHES 5,000 CASES: Garrett County reached another grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, marking the 5,000th case since March 2020. That means one in six Garrett County residents have tested positive at some point in the past two years. Staff reports/Garrett County Republican

MML VETERAN RETIRES: Long-time Maryland Municipal League Executive Director Scott Hancock announced his retirement effective this fall, after serving at MML for 26 years and in municipal government for 41 years.” Looking back on these 26 years in Maryland, I have witnessed so many meaningful advances for this Association, perhaps none more important than the greatly enhanced stature and credibility of Maryland’s municipalities and the League within the state governance system,” Hancock recalled. News Flash/Maryland Municipal League

Happy Birthday to Dels. Jay Jacobs and  David Moon.

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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