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Baltimore City would lose representation under new map proposed for electing state lawmakers

Baltimore City would have two fewer state lawmakers in Annapolis under a proposed new map for electing state senators and delegates.

A General Assembly redistricting committee posted the map online without comment on Monday night, setting a marker for discussions over how communities are represented in the state legislature.

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The new maps are required following the 2020 Census, which recorded Baltimore City losing 5.7% of its population over the last decade. The maps establish the boundaries for electing 188 state lawmakers from 47 districts: 47 senators and 141 delegates.

With Baltimore’s population loss, the city would have two fewer state delegates under the proposed map, going from 16 to 14. The city would elect at least four, and possibly five state senators, as one district is shared with Baltimore County.

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North Baltimore’s District 43, currently located wholly in the city, is proposed to travel up York Road and cross into the Towson area of Baltimore County. The district would be split into two subdistricts, with two delegates for the city portion and one for the county portion. The district’s state senator could come from either the city or the county.

One district that’s currently shared with Baltimore County, southwest Baltimore’s District 44, would be completely absorbed into the county under the proposal.

The map is proposed by the General Assembly’s Legislative Redistricting Advisory Committee, a bipartisan committee with Democrats outnumbering Republicans. The Democrat-led legislature is fully in control of the process of adopting the new district map when lawmakers return to Annapolis for a 90-day session in January.

The redistricting committee plans to hold a hearing on the map via video at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

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Under the state’s constitution, the General Assembly districts “shall consist of adjoining territory, be compact in form, and of substantially equal population.”

The constitution also states: “Due regard shall be given to natural boundaries and the boundaries of political subdivisions.”

Doug Mayer, spokesman for the Fair Maps Maryland coalition that’s aligned with Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, blasted the proposed map as “extreme gerrymandering.”

The proposed map, like the current map, includes some districts with three delegates, while other communities in smaller subdistricts have one or two delegates. The subdistricts can be drawn for various reasons, including ensuring that a certain community is represented in Annapolis. In the proposed maps, subdistricts are included in both urban and rural areas, but not everywhere in the state.

“Some voters have one delegate, some have two, and some have three — that’s not equal representation, that’s electoral corruption,” Mayer said. “We look forward to seeing the folks who created these monstrosities publicly defend them under the bright lights of the Senate and House chambers.”

Hogan appointed a multi-party commission that also proposed a map, but the General Assembly is not required to consider it.

The Hogan commission’s map proposed four districts wholly in Baltimore City, with one district shared with Baltimore County.

The General Assembly met in a special session earlier this month to adopt a new map for the state’s eight congressional districts. Hogan criticized the districts as “disgracefully gerrymandered” to favor Democrats, though his veto of the map was swiftly overturned. Hogan and his supporters have vowed to take legal action against the map.

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