The governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee heard heated arguments yesterday over how to carve the city and Baltimore County into state Senate districts, but said it would wait to hear recommendations from county delegates before finally deciding on boundaries today.
The committee had asked senators and delegates from the city and the county to draw up one plan last week creating eight senatorial districts in the city and seven in the county, including a majority black district along the Liberty Road corridor.
But the county Senate delegation failed to meet to discuss the issue, according to Sen. Janice Piccinini, D-Baltimore County.
While the county's House delegation met, it did not produce a plan because members felt the commission's mandate unfairly favored the city, said Democrat E. Farrell Maddox, chairman of the delegation.
"The indisputable fact is that the population of Baltimore City is steadily declining. No one has put forward any reason to conclude that this decline will not continue," Delegate Maddox wrote in a letter to the commission yesterday.
County legislators have been flooded with demands in recent months that legislative districts be kept separate from those of the city.
Most of the five plans proposed yesterday -- several of them submitted anonymously by individual senators and delegates -- called for districts sharing city and county neighborhoods.
After 90 minutes of discussion yesterday, Mr. Maddox agreed to call a county House delegation meeting for 9 a.m. today to see if its members could endorse any of the five plans.
The commission is slated to come up with a plan today and hold a public hearing Dec. 5 in Annapolis before submitting its plan to the governor.