The Aument amendment, adding provisions for regional judicial elections, was voted into Senate Bill 22 on June 12, largely along a party line vote (35-14). This was just minutes after a nearly unanimous vote (48-1) on the carefully negotiated omnibus amendment to strengthen the bill. Whatever the merits of the idea of judicial regions, we object strongly to its last-minute and unvetted inclusion as an amendment to SB 22.
On Tuesday, June 12 on the Senate floor, SB 22 was cynically hijacked by majority leaders. The Senate was meeting to discuss and vote on amendments to SB 22. Two amendments passed: one that strengthened SB 22 and increased its bipartisan appeal, and one that turned SB 22 into a deeply partisan poison pill - or a Trojan Horse, depending on one’s perspective.
I am writing in response to criticism of Senate Bill 22 by Keystone Progress, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center and others. We are sorry to see any advocate organization come out against a bill that is still a work in progress and is likely the best avenue toward reform of our current very partisan redistricting process.
In recent weeks representatives of Fair Districts PA, along with leaders of allied advocate organizations, took part in extensive conversations regarding the Folmer amendment to Senate Bill 22, which would amend the state Constitution to create an independent citizens redistricting commission.