12 Public Hearings Set for Governor’s Redistricting Advisory Committee; Harford County Session August 27 at Harford Community College

From the Maryland Department of Planning:

Jeanne D. Hitchcock, Esq., chair of the Governor’s Redistricting Advisory Committee (GRAC), today announced the schedule of 12 public hearings that will help inform the committee as it drafts a recommended plan for the State’s Legislative and Congressional redistricting.

The hearings and start times will be:

– Saturday, July 23, 11 a.m., Hancock High School (auditorium), 289 W. Main St., Hancock, Washington County

– Saturday, July 23, 2 p.m., Hood College (Rosenstock Hall-Hodson Auditorium), 401 Rosemont Ave., Frederick

– Monday, July 25, 7 p.m., Prince George’s Community College (Largo Student Center-Rennie Forum), 301 Largo Road, Largo, Prince George’s County

– Wednesday, August 10, 7 p.m., The Universities at Shady Grove (Building #1 Auditorium), 9630 Gudelsky Drive, Rockville, Montgomery County

– Friday, August 12, 7 p.m., Morgan State University, Student Center (Calvin & Tina Tyler Ballroom #4), 1700 East Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore City

– Wednesday, August 24, 7 p.m., The College of Southern Maryland (Center for Business and Industry, Room BI-113), 8730 Mitchell Road, La Plata, Charles County

– Saturday, August 27, 11 a.m., Harford Community College (Amoss Center), 200 Thomas Run Road, Bel Air, Harford County

– Saturday, August 27, 2 p.m., Towson University (Stephens Hall Theater), 8000 York Road, Towson, Baltimore County

– Tuesday, August 30, 4 p.m., Anne Arundel County (Location to be announced)

– Tuesday, August 30, 7 p.m., Howard County (Location to be announced)

– Saturday, September 10, 12:30 p.m., Salisbury University, 1101 Camden Avenue, Salisbury, Wicomico County

– Saturday, September 10, 4 p.m., Chesapeake College (Todd Performing Arts Center), Routes 50 and 213, Wye Mills, Talbot County

Twelve public hearings were also held for the past two redistricting processes in 1991 and 2001. Public hearings will start at the designated time and end following the last testimony of registered persons. More specific details about the hearings will be updated as soon as information becomes available at http://planning.maryland.gov/Redistricting. Guidelines for the public hearings and third-party plan submissions are also posted at the web site.

Advance sign-in for the public hearings is required (by e-mail only) and must be received by 12:00 noon the day prior to the public hearing. People interested in speaking can sign up electronically in advance at planning.maryland.gov/Redistricting. Click on the “bell icon” for the Governor’s Redistricting Advisory Committee & Public Hearings and then click for the link for the hearing at which you want to speak. Any e-mails requesting advanced sign-in received after 12:00 noon the day prior to the hearing will not be included on the speaking roster. After that time, sign-in sheets will be available at the public hearing location.

Testifiers are also requested to provide electronic written comments to the committee by 12:00 noon the day before the hearing. Comments should be sent by e-mail as a PDF attachment to Redistricting2011@mdp.state.md.us. A hard copy will also be accepted at the hearing from people who testify who did not submit an electronic copy. To adequately address accommodations for individuals with disabilities, we request five working days notice prior to the hearing date. Please submit your request by e-mail to Redistricting2011@mdp.state.md.us or by calling 410-767-4490; fax 410-767-4480, or contacting us through the Maryland Relay Internet.

Ms. Hitchcock is joined on the Governor’s Redistricting Advisory Committee by Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., President of the Maryland Senate; Michael E. Busch, Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates; James King, a business owner who served as a member of the House of Delegates from 2007 to 2011 representing District 33A, Anne Arundel County, and Richard Stewart, President and Chief Executive Officer of Montgomery Mechanical Services Inc.

Using the results of the federal census and input collected during public hearings, and complying with state and federal Constitutional and legal standards, the GRAC will submit recommendations for a legislative redistricting plan to the Governor. After considering those recommendations, the Governor will prepare a plan that creates the legislative districts for electing members of the State Senate and House of Delegates. It will be introduced as a joint resolution to the General Assembly on January 11, 2012, the first day of the legislative session. The General Assembly will have 45 days to either approve the Governor’s plan or pass an alternative plan. If no plan passes in 45 days, the Governor’s plan as submitted becomes law. Each legislative district in Maryland consists of one senator and three delegates. The GRAC will also make recommendations to the Governor for the redistricting of Maryland’s eight Congressional districts. Unlike the legislative districts, there is no Constitutional time constraint on the passage of a Congressional redistricting plan. Given the timing of the upcoming 2012 Presidential election, it is anticipated that the General Assembly will consider the Governor’s Congressional redistricting plan in a special session the week of October 17, 2011. Once the public hearings are completed, the GRAC will draft its recommendations to the Governor. The recommended Congressional plan will be drafted in advance of the special session. In the past, the Committee’s final recommendations on a Legislative redistricting plan have been sent to the Governor by mid-December. The Committee is assisted by staff from the Maryland Department of Planning and the Department of Legislative Services.