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Proceedings and Debates of the 1967 Constitutional Convention
Volume 104, Volume 1, Debates 483   View pdf image (33K)
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[Nov. 8] DEBATES 483
they shall be located,—the total—and I am
speaking here of the lower house, now—
has been reduced overall throughout the
country from 5,913 members in 1963 to
5,630 members in 1967. That is a decrease
of 283 members, but 75 percent of that de-
crease has occurred in two states: Connec-
ticut, which has gone from 294 to 177;
and Vermont, that has gone from 246 to
150. And both of those states—and I think
this is important for an understanding of
the issue that we are involved with today—
both of those states meet once every two
years, as does the State of New Hamp-
shire, which, incidentally, people try to
raise as the bugaboo, that nobody wants a
legislature of 400 members in size. Theirs
is the only such legislature. During that
same period, nine states reduced the size
of their lower house and six increased it.
Let us take a look at what has hap-
pened during this period in the Senate.
During this period, three states have re-
duced the size of their membership in their
upper chamber or their senates, fifteen
have increased them. New York, of course,
in their constitution had decreased it, but
they put it back in the new constitution
which was defeated, so 1 guess we still
have to put it on the net decrease. In both
of the other states that have decreased
their senates, Montana and Idaho, they
meet once every two years, far different
from what we do in the State of Mary-
land. For the total for all the states, there
has been a net increase in the members of
the upper chamber from 1913 to 1980.
That is a net gain of 67 senate seats, and
in no case where the size of the lower
house has been decreased has the senate
size been decreased at the same time.
Compare that with the majority Com-
mittee's recommendation.
I think it is clear from the foregoing
that there once again is no uniformity in
the way that people around the country
are handling this delicate problem.
The population of Maryland as we know
today is approximately 3.6 million people.
As the Chairman of the Committee on the
Legislative Branch has already informed
the group, the projected estimates of the
population in 1970, is 3.9 million. By 1980
that population will reach a figure of 5
I do not intend to argue the merits today,
and neither does the minority report, of
the Baker v. Carr and Reynolds v. Sims
decisions. These are the law of the land for
the moment. However, we do intend to
argue that during this period of great
change, during this period when the finality
of the law has not covered the field, during
this period when the exact deviation that
can be expected from district to district
has not been finally established by the
Supreme Court, during this period when
the slot system of elections, and other pro-
posed systems which give broader repre-
sentation to smaller groups are still hav-
ing their merits tried out in the courts,
we say this is no time to write into the
Constitution of Maryland a 105 to 35
figure, which is going to significantly re-
duce the representation in our State legis-
We know, and I think the figures that
are before you in the majority report show,
that if this 105-35 ratio is carried out, by
1970 there are going to be nine counties
of our state that are going to have to
share five members somewhere and some-
how in the lower house of the legislature
of Maryland.
The presiding officer, or Chairman, as he
is wearing his hat at the present moment,
has already mentioned the fact that by a
considerable majority, the Constitution of
New York was repudiated by the voters
in the election yesterday. I am not one who
is ever going to stand before this chamber
on any kind of issue and say to the dele-
gates here assembled, do not do what you
should do because if you do not do it the
way people want it, they are going to
repudiate that document when it comes
before them next May, but I think it is a
fair question to ask: how can you expect
nine or ten of our 23 counties in this great
State to support a document that is going
to deprive them of representation in at
least one chamber of their legislature?
That seems to me a very relevant ques-
I am not saying, and I do not make the
case—maybe other members of the minor-
ity report do—that we can assure each
county one seat at all times in the future.
I do not say that we can or cannot. I say
that if we cannot, let us make that pain
as easy as we can, and the only place to
do that is in a legislative group, and not
in a Constitutional Convention delegation
as we have here today.
I would like to take just a few final
concluding moments with respect to some
of the comments mentioned by our distin-
guished, jovial, always humorous Chair-
man, if I can find them. I may have to
ask him for his text.

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Proceedings and Debates of the 1967 Constitutional Convention
Volume 104, Volume 1, Debates 483   View pdf image (33K)
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