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Panel Releases Legislative District Map

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — An advisory panel on redistricting for seats in the Maryland General Assembly released a proposed map on Friday that panel members say was designed to reflect an increase in the state’s minority population in the 2010 census.

The map released Friday contains 12 districts that are majority African-American, an increase from 10 districts that the Court of Appeals created in 2002. In addition to those districts, there are four districts that are majority minority — an increase from two in the last map.

“You obviously have to appreciate that Maryland is a very diverse state with expectations from many corners of the state for adequate representation as they perceive it to be, and so we tried to recognize the growing ethnic population and we think we have done so with this map,” said Jeanne Hitchcock, Gov. Martin O’Malley’s secretary of appointments who chaired the redistricting panel.

The map also moves a big portion of a Baltimore district into Baltimore County to reflect population changes in the city.

District 44, which is currently entirely in the city with three delegates and one senator, will shift two delegates into the
county.

“In doing so we were able to follow the population trend — ensure that there are six African Americans maintained in the
Baltimore region as senatorial districts and we were able to ensure and maintain six senators within the Baltimore City limits,” Hitchcock said.

In far western Maryland, District 1 remains largely unchanged. Joe Bryce, O’Malley’s chief legislative officer, noted that
District 3, which includes Frederick, will have a double-member district in and around the city with a single-member district south of the city that will no longer cross into Washington County.

On the Eastern Shore, the panel aimed to put enough Caroline County residents in the four-county district so they can better compete to have a delegate from the county.

Carroll County will have a Senate district that is entirely in the county, District 5.

A public hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 22 in Annapolis before the map formally goes to the General Assembly to consider in the 2012 session.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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