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February 9, 2011

Baltimore could lose Senate seat, census data shows

Baltimore's population declined so much relative to the rest of the state in the last decade that the city could lose one of its six senate seats in the upcoming redistricting process, according to a back of the envelope analysis of census data released today.

"We still have a lot to consider," said House Majority Whip Talmadge Branch, an East Baltimore Democrat. "We are going to look at every possible angle before we concede."

Instead, political clout could shift to places like Frederick or southern Maryland which grew at a faster clip than the rest of the state.

The city contracted by about 30,000 from 2000 to 2010; and now has a population of about 621,000. On balance the state added residents, which will make Baltimore's loses stand out as lawmakers redraw legislative and congressional lines over the next year.

State law requires that Maryland's 47 senators each represent roughly the same number of people. Ten years ago the ideal senate district included 112,691. The new ideal size for each seat is 122,842 -- which would give Baltimore five seats.




The state still needs to adjust the census data released today to include prisoners in order comply with a new state law which requires that incarcerated people be counted at their last known address. 

The state prison population is about 23,000, with about 6 in 10 from Baltimore city. State planners are still trying to determine if they will receive address data for federal prisoners.

Lawmakers will need to readjust the state and congressional districts to reflect the shifts in population. The congressional map will need to be approved in a special legislative session, which is probably going to be scheduled in the fall.  Gov. Martin O'Malley will offer new state senate and house lines on the first day of the 2012 session.

Ten years ago there were ten senators who represented at least some part of Baltimore; half were completely within the city boarders and the rest also represented Baltimore County.

The city lost 84,860 residents between 1990 and 2000 and former Gov. Parris Glendening, a Democrat, attempted to preserve the city's political clout by putting forward a map with eight senate seats: Three were in the city; four were mostly in the city; and one was mostly in Baltimore county with a small portion in the city.

The state's court of appeals objected -- ruling that the districts included too many boarder crossings. The court redrew the map in 2002 with six Baltimore senators. Their districts are completely contained to the city.

Posted by Annie Linskey at 2:56 PM | | Comments (8)
        

Comments

maybe thats why is thinking of running for mayor ...SHE MIGHT A JOB SOON

Under the Maryland Constitution, the Governor draws the boundaries for new General Assembly legislative districts. Ten years ago, then-Governor Parris Glendening drew lines that low-balled the populations in Baltimore City districts and high-balled those in Montgomery County. The Maryland Court of Appeals re-drew those lines and the City lost another legislative district.

Gov. O'Malley is faced this time with an interesting political dilemma---

(1) Try the old Glendening trick and bring the City's legislative districts in at the lowest possible population ("low-balling") so all the current legislative district seats from the City are saved. Or

(2) High-ball Montgomery County. But if O'Malley does that, he's going to be in trouble when he runs for a national elective office because Montgomery County is where the political money's found, not the City any longer.

O'Malley was born and raised in Montgomery County and has a Washington, D.C., focus (his children attend Sidwell-Friends School in D.C., where the Obama girls go), but his poltical career began in Baltimore City.

" The congressional map will need to be approved in a special legislative session, which is probably going to be scheduled in the fall."

A special session of the General Assembly to approve a congressional district map worked out behind the scenes is not needed from a practical standpoint, only from a political tactical standpoint. The next election for members of congress isn't until November, 2012, a year after any special session.

The State Administrative Board of Election Laws (SABEL) does not need a year to prepared itself for congressional elections.

The only reason to have a special session would be to usurp the usual legislative process by ramming a bill through the special session.

Why does "Maryland's newspaper" do such a poor job of including the D.C. suburbs in its Maryland reporting? The Washington Post, in reporting the census figures, did a much better job of covering the Baltimore area, and The Post does not pretend to be a statewide paper.

Proof that our property taxes in Baltimore are WAY too high.

"The state still needs to adjust the census data released today to include prisoners in order comply with a new state law which requires that incarcerated people be counted at their last known address. "

Has this law been tested in federal court yet? Because "residence" requires both (1) Intent, and (2) Physical presence.

Prisoners intend to live somewhere else but physically are present in their penetentiary, so it's an open question. One would assume that Baltimore City would be the theoretical home to a number of prisoners who "reside" elsewhere.

"The state still needs to adjust the census data released today to include prisoners in order comply with a new state law which requires that incarcerated people be counted at their last known address. "

Has this law been tested in federal court yet? Because "residence" requires both (1) Intent, and (2) Physical presence.

Prisoners intend to live somewhere else but physically are present in their penetentiary, so it's an open question. One would assume that Baltimore City would be the theoretical home to a number of prisoners who "reside" elsewhere.

Frank,

The Board of elections may not need a year, but redistricting during next years session would only leave prospective canidates a few months to decide to run, start a campaign and get the message out.

A rushed scedule like that heavily favors incumbants who already have "the machine" in place.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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