Three members of the first California Citizens Redistricting Commission visited Pennsylvania on September 16 to 18 to share their experience in drawing district lines. This was the third delegation from the commission to visit PA. As Commissioner Cynthia Dai said hopefully, “Maybe the third time’s the charm.”
Fair Districts PA supporters showed up in large numbers for the House State Government Committee hearing on September 18, 2019. After a staff scramble to find overflow space, Committee Chair Garth Everett invited attendees to sit on the floor, stand in the back, or move to a training room nearby to watch proceedings on a large screen tv.
A committee in the House is holding a hearing on September 18 about redistricting reform. We can’t all show up in Harrisburg, but we can make an impact so all state representatives know their constituents want reform before the 2021 redistricting cycle, not in 2031!
The Governor’s Reform Commission released a statement and report with recommendations to improve the process of creating legislative district boundaries, completing the work described by Governor Wolf in an executive order last fall “to explore ways Pennsylvania could curb gerrymandering and make redistricting fairer and nonpartisan.”
In the final hours of the 2019 term, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that federal courts lack jurisdiction to decide political gerrymandering cases. That means the door to justice in federal courts is closed.
The Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs and Philadelphia City Council adopt resolutions to end gerrymandering in Pennsylvania through creation of independent citizens commission for legislative and congressional redistricting.
Last week U.S. News & World Report released its third annual list of the best and worst states in America to live in, based on “thousands of data points to measure how well states are performing for their citizens.” Pennsylvania was ranked 41st: down from 30th in 2017 and 38th in 2018, far behind our neighboring states.
On April 3, Senate Bill 22 was reintroduced by Senators Boscola and Folmer and a bipartisan list of cosponsors. The bill includes amendments negotiated among legislators in the late spring of 2018, minus the Aument judicial region amendment.
House Bills 22 and 23, the Two Bills One Commission strategy supported by Fair Districts PA, have been introduced in the PA House. These bills will put a citizens redistricting commission in place in time for the 2021 redistricting. They provide for open hearings and public input, safeguard against partisan influence and fix both redistricting processes - legislative and congressional.