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WASHINGTON (AP) - Maryland residents arguing that their lawsuit over the state's 2011 redrawing of its congressional districts was thrown out prematurely seemed to find some sympathy with justices at the U.S. Supreme Court.

During oral arguments Wednesday, the residents' lawyer asked the Supreme Court to agree that that the lawsuit should have been forwarded to a three-judge panel, not dismissed by a single judge.

Don Rush

Mayor-elect Jake Day will be taking the helm in the wake of yesterday’s city election which also saw a dramatic change in the city council.

Day ran unopposed as did council vice president Laura Mitchell.

The Mayor-elect said, “This is going to be a different council and they’re all going to have to work together. I am excited for them. They have to be a team. And, we have to be a team as a city.

For voters there was a myriad of issues on their minds:


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A panel is recommending Maryland reform its congressional and state legislative redistricting process by creating an independent commission to draw the districts.
The panel sent recommendations on Tuesday to Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican who appointed them to explore reforms.
The commission would have nine members. Three of them would be affiliated with the Democratic Party, and three would be affiliated with the Republican Party. Three others would not be associated with either party.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - A 55-year-old law school student from Maryland is having his case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Stephen Shapiro's case began with his frustration over the way Maryland redrew the state's eight Congressional districts in 2011. The American University law school student sees the shapes of some of the state's districts as nonsensical. But several months after he sued over the districts in 2013 a judge threw the lawsuit out, ruling it wasn't based on a valid legal theory.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A group of Virginians who unsuccessfully challenged the state's legislative boundaries in federal court is appealing a recent ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The group, which is backed by lawyers who frequently work for the Democratic Party, filed its notice of appeal Monday.

Last week a panel of federal judges rejected the allegations that the Republican-led Virginia House of Delegates illegally packed black voters into a dozen legislative districts.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A panel of federal judges has rejected a lawsuit alleging that the Virginia House of Delegates illegally packed black voters into a dozen legislative districts.

The judges ruled 2-1 Thursday that the House redistricting plan approved in 2011 was constitutional and did not improperly gerrymander the legislative map to concentrate African Americans into 12 legislative districts and diminish black voters' influence in the rest of the state.

Don Rush

The U.S. District Court in Baltimore accepted the new redistricting plan yesterday for Salisbury in which there are five council districts -- two of which are predominantly African American.

The original majority-minority District 1 now has three candidates vying for the seat in this year’s election and the new majority-minority District 2 has four.

Mayor Jim Ireton called the ruling “a well-deserved moment for our city” because it was not forced on the city but rather enacted by the City Council.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is asking state lawmakers to meet in Richmond next week to hammer out a consensus on new congressional districts.

The Democratic governor sent a letter to legislative leaders Tuesday asking them to work together in a nonpartisan and transparent way to redraw Virginia's congressional maps ahead of a court-ordered special session on redistricting set for Aug. 17.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe has set a tentative date for a court-ordered special legislative session to redraw Virginia's congressional boundaries.
McAuliffe's office said Tuesday the governor has informed leaders of the GOP-controlled General Assembly that he intends to call a special session on Aug. 17.
A 2-1 ruling in June by a panel of judges directed the General Assembly to draw new boundaries by Sept. 1 to correct a 2012 redistricting plan the court found used race as the predominant factor in drawing boundaries.

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - The chief architect of a Republican legislative redistricting plan says race was just one of many factors used to redraw boundaries in Virginia's House of Delegates.

Delegate Chris Jones of Suffolk testified Wednesday in federal court in Alexandria. The GOP-controlled House of Delegates is defending itself in a lawsuit that alleges the 2011 redistricting unconstitutionally packed black voters into 12 legislative districts.

The lawsuit claims that packing black voters into those districts limited their influence in the rest of the state.

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - The chief architect of a Republican legislative redistricting plan is expected to testify in a lawsuit that claims the plan unconstitutionally packs black voters into a dozen legislative districts.

Delegate Chris Jones of Suffolk is expected to take the stand Wednesday in federal court in Alexandria and defend the plan. Jones led efforts in 2011 to redraw that state's legislative boundaries for the 100-member House of Delegates.

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WASHINGTON (AP)- The Supreme Court will decide whether it was proper for a single federal judge to throw out a lawsuit challenging Maryland's 2011 congressional redistricting plan.

The justices on Monday agreed to hear an appeal from a group of Maryland residents who say their First Amendment challenge should have been reviewed by a three-judge panel.

Federal law requires a special panel of three judges to hear constitutional redistricting cases unless a single judge who initially considers the case decides it is frivolous or "obviously without merit."

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Salisbury residents will honor the late community activist Billy Gene Jackson who died last week at the age of 77.

There will be a candle light vigil at 7 p.m. on June 5th  at the park that is named after him.

The following day on June 6h a memorial service will be held at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center.

An activist as far back as the 1960’s Jackson initiated a lawsuit in 1987 that ultimately required Salisbury to include its first black city council member.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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,

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.


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.