redistricting

pool camera

Governor Larry Hogan laid out an ambitious plan in his first state of the state address beginning with a promise to begin his efforts to bring tax relief to Marylanders.

The Republican blamed high taxes, over regulation and an anti-business atmosphere for the struggling state economy.

Hogan’s tax program ranged from repealing income taxes on pensions for retired military, police, fire and first responders to doing away with automatic increase in the gas tax and a cut in personal property taxes for small business.

Don Rush

In 2015 the ballot voters see in Salisbury could look much different than in the past.

Aside from all five seats and the Mayor being up for election, under a new redistricting plan they would only be voting for one city council member.

That’s the result of a vote last night by the City Council to divide the city up into five separate districts with two minority-majority districts.

official photo

The Salisbury City Council took the first steps last night to replace Terry Cohen who abruptly announced she was leaving the council due to personal obligations.

So, now, it will be up to the four remaining council members to choose a new member by early September.

Council President Jake Day said they would be receiving applications with a deadline of August 25th.

Salisbury City website

Salisbury Council member Terry Cohen says she is resigning citing family obligations in the coming months.

Her resignation date is effective August 8th.

Cohen made the announcement at the end of last night’s meeting.

She said in the last ten months or so she and her family have had major life changes that include a recent tragic loss.

Cohen said what lies ahead will demand too much attention to continue on the council at the level she demands of herself.

Cohen was elected in 2007 and won a second term in 2011.

Don Rush

Salisbury is moving toward drawing up five separate districts for its city council from the two districts it now has.

Council President Jake Day along with council Vice President Laura Mitchell and council member Shanie Shields voted to put the plan on the August 11th meeting agenda.

Supporters of the plan say they want the system in place for the September 9th primary next year.

But objections came from to other council members.

Don Rush

The Salisbury City Council held a hearing on a proposal to dramatically alter the political landscape by dividing the town up into 5 separate districts.

official photo

Mayor Jim Ireton wants to expand the number of City Council districts from two to five in Salisbury.

Under the Mayor’s plan that would take effect with the November 2015 election when all of the seats are on the ballot.

The proposal would include two minority majority districts.

But such change would require a judge’s approval as a result of the 1987 lawsuit that produced the current lone minority-majority district now occupied by Shanie Shields.

Worcester County Government

With a growth of more than 5-thosuand residents over the last decade the Worcester County Commissioners have decided to draw up some new districts.

And they are going to get some public input at hearings set for the end of July and August 1st.

The last census in 2000 resulted in adding two more commissioners bringing the total to seven.

official photo

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The Delaware Senate is considering a bill to take direct control of the legislative redistricting process out of the hands of the General Assembly.

The bill to be voted on Thursday calls for an 11-member commission appointed every 10 years to redraw legislative districts.

Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate would appoint 10 members, who would then select a chairman.

Council Member Stevie Prettyman, msa.md.gov

The Wicomico County Council will take a look at some small changes in the redistricting map during its session tomorrow.

There have been concerns about the cost and a number of precincts that have as few as four people.

And the council members have asked officials to adjust small parts of the map before they give their blessing.

The proposed redistricting plan would have increased the number of precincts from 38 to 50 at a cost of $800 a piece.

The Wicomico County Council is expected to take up today a proposed redistricting plan after last night’s public hearing.

The council said its wants to take a look at a Plan B after members expressed concerns over the first plan.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that Council member Stevie Prettyman expressed concern about the expansion of the number of precincts from 38 to 50.

The plan would also move Fruitland voters on east Camden Avenue into District 3.

That would leave the city of Salisbury divided into four districts.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland's highest court has rejected an appeal by the state's Democratic Party to stop a referendum on the state's congressional redistricting map.

The Court of Appeals released the brief order on Friday.

The Maryland State Board of Elections has certified 59,201 signatures from opponents of the map. They needed 55,736.

Opponents say the map has been gerrymandered to favor Democrats at the expense of fair representation of voters.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Democratic Party has filed a complaint against the Maryland State Board of Elections relating to the validation process of signatures in a petition drive against the state's congressional redistricting map.

David Sloan, the party's executive director, said in a statement Tuesday the board failed to apply standards for reviewing and validating the signatures.

On Friday, the elections board certified that opponents of the map had submitted 59,201 signatures to put the map on the ballot for voters to decide in November. They needed 55,736.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A Maryland State Board of Elections official says opponents of Maryland's congressional redistricting map have acquired enough signatures to give voters a chance to reject the map in November.

Donna Duncan, the board's election management director, said 56,323 signatures had been validated Wednesday afternoon. Opponents needed 55,736 to put the map on the ballot. Duncan says there are still about 2,900 signatures to be verified.

(AP) The Supreme Court won't hear a complaint against Maryland's congressional redistricting map by voters unhappy with the state's new maps.

The high court affirmed Maryland judges' decision to throw the lawsuit out. Some voters had complained that the new maps passed by the state legislature last year discriminated against African-Americans by failing to create a third majority-black congressional district in the state.

The lower court judges also said the lawsuit didn't meet the burden of proof that the map is a partisan gerrymander.

 

By 3-2 the Salisbury City Council this week ordered the City Attorney to draw up a charter amendment that would redraw the current council districts.

It would create a larger majority-minority district with two council members and a second at-large district with three council members.

In addition…the amendment would eliminate the staggered elections with all council members and the Mayor up for four-year terms in 2015.

http://www.ci.salisbury.md.us

 

The new proposals before the Salisbury City Council that would expand minority representation on the Salisbury City Council has drawn sharp criticism from Council member Shanie Shields, who represents the only minority majority district on the council. Delmarva Public Radio's Jamyla Krempel prepared this report.  

City of Salisbury

 

All of the redistricting plans for Salisbury’s City Council elections are now off the table.

In their stead there two new plans.

One would create three council districts.

Two would be majority-minority districts while the third would be an at large district with three council members.

A second proposal would create a two-district map that combines the two minority-majority districts but with two representatives. 

 

            The Salisbury City Council will take up proposed redistricting plans this evening during its work session.

            The American Civil Liberties Union has threatened that the city could face litigation.

            Last week, the Council told the City Attorney to work with the ACLU on the issue.

            Meredith Curtis, with the ACLU, told the Salisbury Daily Times that the organization would not go beyond saying that they are in discussions with the city.

 

          The Salisbury City Council is set to take up proposals at its work session tonight to redraw district lines that could see the end of the at-large District 2.

            Council President Terry Cohen emphasized that the council body has not taken a position on any proposals or comments set forth by city staff or the public.

            Mayor Jim Ireton has offered three plans one of which would provide for only five council districts two of which would be majority minority districts.

 

             The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland says that the at-large voting district with a majority-minority district in Salisbury violates the Voting Rights Act given the changing demographics of the city.

            African Americans now make up over 34 percent of Salisbury’s population as opposed to only 16 percent in 1986 when the current two district formula was developed.