Carroll district plan stymied

It would alter voting for commissioners

June 15, 2006|By LAURA MCCANDLISH | LAURA MCCANDLISH,SUN REPORTER

A bill sponsored by Carroll County's three state senators, which would draw districts to elect five commissioners in the fall election, appeared headed for failure last night when the General Assembly neared the conclusion of its brief special session without considering the measure.

The bill was introduced on the Senate floor yesterday and assigned to the Senate Rules Committee, frequently a graveyard for legislation that the chamber's leaders choose not to consider. The bill had not moved out of the committee by late last night, and its prospects appeared bleak.

A June 2 decision by the Court of Appeals to keep Carroll's current government structure intact, with three commissioners elected countywide, prompted Carroll Sens. Larry E. Haines, Allan H. Kittleman and David R. Brinkley to file the redistricting bill Tuesday.

The decision by the state's highest court disrupted years of political efforts, disappointing county officials and residents, who in 2004 approved a referendum to increase the membership of the Board of Commissioners to five, each to be elected by district.

Carroll's all-Republican delegation introduced an almost identical districting bill in Annapolis during the regular legislative session. The General Assembly adjourned in mid-April without approving it.

Both bills call for implementing the Option 1 district map, favored by Carroll's delegation. The county's current commissioners, the mayors of Carroll's eight municipalities and many residents backed another map, known as Option 2.

"If we can get a hearing, I feel confident it'll pass," said Haines, the delegation's leader.

laura.mccandlish@baltsun.com

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