On Eve of Supreme Court Hearing, Promise to Petition Legislation From Committee
Annapolis – House Republicans today demanded action on legislation that would truly reform Maryland’s redistricting process. This action comes on the eve of the United States Supreme Court hearing arguments in a case challenging the constitutionality of Maryland’s congressional redistricting map.
House Bill 356 – General Assembly and Congressional Legislative Redistricting Apportionment Commission received a hearing in the House Rules Committee more than a month ago. With less than two weeks left in the 2018 session, time is running out to pass this bill.
In a letter to the Chair of the Committee, House Minority Leader Nic Kipke and House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga stated the Minority Caucus’ intentions to petition the bill from the possession of the Committee if action was not taken.
“Maryland has earned the shameful designation of being home to the most gerrymandered districts in the nation,” said House Minority Leader Nic Kipke. “We owe it to our citizens to restore their faith in the fairness of their congressional and legislative districts. There has been too much delay.”
The letter points out Maryland’s tarnished history that has included numerous lawsuits over redistricting. In 1994, redistricting maps were invalidated for failing to meet the requirements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In 2002, maps were overturned for improperly prioritizing political goals over the constitutional congruence standards.
“Over 78% of Marylanders want redistricting reform and they should not have to wait a moment longer,” said House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga. “The time for free and fair elections is now.”