Delegation dispute continues

GOP appeals dismissal of lawsuit over votes

February 05, 2003|By Ryan Davis | Ryan Davis,SUN STAFF

The fight for control of the Anne Arundel County legislative delegation will continue, as Republican delegates have appealed a judge's decision last month to toss out their lawsuit.

In the lawsuit, Republicans challenged a December vote by the county's outgoing House delegation.

With that vote, the delegation - which included two Democratic delegates who had lost in the November election - approved giving one vote each to three Prince George's County delegates whose district contains a sliver of Anne Arundel County. As a result, Democrats maintained an 8-to-7 majority in the delegation at the start of the new session.

The delegation had previously agreed that the three Prince George's delegates would have one collective vote. If that method had continued, Republicans would have held a 7-to-6 majority.

The county's delegation largely controls what local bills are introduced in the House of Delegates.

In deciding to throw out the lawsuit Jan. 9, Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Joseph P. Manck determined that the principle of "one man, one vote" did not apply to the delegation.

Republicans argued that it did apply, and thus that the Prince George's delegates should not be entitled to the same voting power as the delegates whose districts rest solely in the county.

As for appealing the judge's decision, freshman Republican Del. Donald H. Dwyer Jr. said he still questions the legality of the Dec. 2 meeting.

"I've got questions I've been asking since Dec. 2," he said. "Those questions still have not been answered."

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