What about redistricting?
Lawmakers will grapple with the state's $13 billion operating budget and an array of policy issues that we outlined in a story this Sunday. But one puzzle the legislature won't take up when its 90-day session begins Wednesday: redistricting.
Results from the 2010 Census will come in later this winter, laying the groundwork for redrawing the state's eight congressional and 188 state legislative districts. Those battles, however, will wait for later, said House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller.
Realigning the congressional districts comes first, with the 2012 elections less than two years away. Legislative leaders expect a brief special session this summer.
Maryland did not lose any congressional seats, but shifting population means some districts will change shape. Some points lawmakers may consider: The Baltimore area, which has three representatives, has experienced almost no population growth in recent years. Other areas, including greater Frederick and the Washington Beltway communities, are growing.
And the Democrat-dominated state government could take aim at one of the two Republican-held districts, roughly the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland.
“What we’ll probably do is attempt to make the districts more compact,” he said.
The new congressional map would be introduced by one or more lawmakers — likely the Senate president and House speaker — voted on by the General Assembly and then signed by the governor.
State legislative redistricting will likely wait until next year, as those lawmakers don’t face reelection until 2014.