In Case You Missed It:
Hogan Right to Veto Bogus Redistricting Bill
From Capital Gazette
“As Hogan put it in his veto message: ‘Maryland is a leader in so many areas, since when do we wait for five other states to pass legislation before enacting something that the vast majority of our citizens want?’”
May 10, 2017
“‘Phony’ is an overused word in political discussions. Proposals may be inadequate, misconceived or counterproductive, but few are actually designed to be deceptive — for instance, to make it look as if its authors back a popular reform, when they really just want it to go away.
“But Senate Bill 1023, the redistricting measure this year’s General Assembly passed by party-line votes, is, if you like, a genuine phony. Gov. Larry Hogan this week was right to call it out as such and veto it.
“There is overwhelming popular support for legislation incorporating the recommendations of Hogan’s nonpartisan Maryland Redistricting Reform Commission. It would assign the drawing of the lines every 10 years to an independent commission given clear instructions that would end the misuse of the process as a racket for coddling incumbents and scattering the strength of the minority party — in a word, gerrymandering.
“To see why that has become a political dirty word, you only have to glance at a map and view such monstrosities as Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District.
“Having essentially stuffed Hogan’s reform legislation in a desk drawer for one session, the legislature’s leaders decided this year to pretend to grapple with the issue. Senate Bill 1023 would move the state toward an independent commission — after Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New Jersey and New York do likewise.
“As Hogan put it in his veto message: ‘Maryland is a leader in so many areas, since when do we wait for five other states to pass legislation before enacting something that the vast majority of our citizens want?’
“In a joint response, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch scolded Hogan for vetoing a bill ‘that could help fix a broken Congress’ and accused him of just wanting to send more Republicans to Capitol Hill. Considering that the state has a 2-to-1 voter registration margin in favor of Democrats but one Republican congressman out of eight, that’s rich.
“Gerrymandering in Republican-dominated states has given the GOP, for now, a lock on the House of Representatives. So state Democratic leaders like Busch and Miller don’t want to lose this disreputable tool in the reduced number of jurisdictions where they control the levers.
“But the U.S. Constitution says redistricting is a state responsibility, not a congressional one. Fixing a broken Congress isn’t Hogan’s job; it isn’t the job of Miller and Busch either. Getting rid of blatant abuses in how the state carries out its responsibilities is their job. And voters are getting impatient with ranking Democrats for finding flimsy excuses, like SB 1023, for not doing it.
“They are shortsightedly throwing a popular issue to Hogan, and he is right to not allow them their fig leaf and to keep the heat on.”