Week 1: Redistricting Edition
The 430th Session of the Maryland General Assembly began on Wednesday at noon. We started the session by re-electing Michael Busch as the longest serving speaker in Maryland history. The formalities of the rest of the week consisted mostly of "first readings" of bills introduced early in the session (each bill must have three readings in each respective chamber) and informational meetings with constituents. In this first weekly report of the session I will share with you the progress of our state's legislative redistricting.
As required by our Constitution, the legislature is preparing to review and debate the Governor's proposed legislative redistricting plan before ultimately approving the state's new lines for the next ten years. In December, Governor O'Malley's Redistricting Advisory Committee (GRAC) proposed a redistricting plan that would drastically reshape District 11 among many other districts throughout the state. That proposal would have unified Pikesville and precincts along I-83, while certain western precincts along the Carroll County line (including Randallstown) and northern precincts (such as Reisterstown and parts of Owings Mills) would have moved to District 10. On Wednesday, the first day of the legislative session, the Governor submitted a new redistricting proposal in which District 11, as proposed by the commission, will acquire portions of Oregon Ridge and Cockeysville, but lose a portion of Chestnut Ridge.
When all is said and done, I think our new district lines adequately consolidate Pikesville, Owings Mills, much of Reisterstown, and Lutherville. While my colleagues and I are concerned about the loss of crucial areas west and north, we see this as a pragmatic compromise.
I want to thank those of you who have been so actively involved in this effort on behalf of our local communities – submitting scores of thoughtful letters, emails, and telephone calls to the Governor in advance of his proposal. The District 11 legislative team will continue to voice your thoughts to our colleagues as we evaluate the current proposal. While it is likely that I will no longer be formally representing parts of the northern and western district, I will continue to represent the interests of all members of our community to the best of my abilities. And when the time comes, I will happily welcome all new constituents to the district. Please stay tuned for further information as this issue progresses through the legislature and in the news.
I also thank County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and County Council Chairwoman Vicki Almond for stopping by my office on the first day of session to send their well wishes for a successful session as we continue to discuss County priorities in the legislature. I look forward to our continued cooperation to ensure a shared vision on behalf of our communities at this critical time.
Finally, my tenth frigid Chesapeake Bay Polar Bear Plunge to benefit Special Olympics Maryland is just two weeks away. While I welcome each of you to take the plunge with me, I suspect you may prefer to stay warm and dry and donate to the organization instead. You could even go to my icy sponsor page on the organization's website. Supporting this event is one effort that Republicans and Democrats cooperate in – a good sign of bipartisanship! In my next report I will discuss a few items on my legislative agenda. Until then, keep rooting for the Ravens on the road to Indianapolis!
Jon S. Cardin