Bill to amend the legislative process for redistricting plans introduced (PGC Council)
Recently, Council Member Turner introduced CB-050-2022 into the Prince George's County Council. This bill would amend the legislative process for the County's decennial redistricting plan to specify that the Council must enact a law to change the Commission's plan.
To understand the reasoning for this bill, one needs to go back to the controversy surrounding the Council redistricting plan passed back in November. After months of rallies, discussions with the Council, and lawsuits, the Maryland Court of Appeals eventually upheld a lower court decision to strike down the Council's map and reinstate the district map recommended by the Redistricting Commission. One of the arguments the court, when heading the case, agreed with was the claim that the Council disregarded the law by passing its alternative map as a resolution instead of enacting a bill. CB-050-2022 is a response to that decision by the court.
CB-050-2022 states the redistricting procedure will now clearly state that the "Commission's plan" is the plan subject to Council action. It also adds language that reads: "[a]ny law by the Council changing the Commission's plan shall not be subject to executive veto under Section 411 of the Charter or considered emergency legislation under Section 317 of the Charter." Lastly, the bill deletes the final sentence of the Section requiring changes to the Commission plan to be a "law adopted by resolution of the County Council upon notice."
All of the proposed amendments are an attempt by the Council to make it clear that the Council needs a bill, not a resolution, to change, by law, the Commission plan, as the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled. If this bill were to be enacted, it would trigger a ballot question for Prince Geroge's County voters during the 2022 General Election on November 8th. If residents vote in favor of the question, the amendments in CB-050-2022 will be adopted after the thirtieth day of the election.
If you have any questions about this bill, contact the bill sponsor Council Member Turner at (301) 952-3094 or email him at CouncilDistrict4@co.pg.md.us.