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Senate beginning process of redrawing district lines

Senate beginning process of redrawing district lines”

In their brief filed yesterday, the Republican legislators - who include the president pro tempore of the state senate and the speaker of the state's house of representatives - told the justices that the state supreme court's decision "has cast Pennsylvania's Congressional elections into chaos on the eve of the 2018 primary elections", which are scheduled for May 18; March 6 is the deadline for candidates to file to run in the primaries.

Although the recent decision by the state Supreme Court is expected to result in new maps for this upcoming election cycle, the decision does nothing to change the partisan way that Pennsylvania voting districts maps are drawn.

"We're getting a vehicle moving", said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, following the committee meeting. Both of these bills remain in committee.

Fair Districts PA advocates for an independent citizens commission to draw congressional maps. Scarnati said about the legislation Monday.

However, at least from the perspective of the majority Republicans, they're mostly operating in the dark right now, as they don't yet have an opinion from the state Supreme Court explaining how the current maps were unconstitutional, which they say is necessary to avoid drawing another map that doesn't meet with the court's definition of "constitutional". They, along with the state's lawmakers, ask to put off redrawing the map for a few more years. Andy Dinniman, D-Chester, and Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, said the state Supreme Court was left with no choice but to rule the congressional district map unconstitutional given what both senators characterized as the obvious appearance of an unconstitutional map. "However, one of the advocacy groups chose to file a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the 2011 lines".

He said closed-door discussions with advocacy groups left him additionally frustrated as they failed to answer some of his more pressing questions about reform bills now introduced in the General Assembly, particularly what happens if a citizens' commission can not agree to a map, and a special master has to step in and create a map to a court's satisfaction.

The court order, issued January 22, gives the Republican-controlled Legislature until February 9 to create a replacement map, and Gov. Tom Wolf until February 15 to submit the revised map to the court. "If this is the reform those who have been scorching me in the press and on social media want, then we'll see".

The state Senate is getting on with the process of altering Pennsylvania's current congressional districts, should the U.S. Supreme Court not put a halt to the process started by last week's state Supreme Court order. "In a district where you can create a scenario that you know you'll get elected if you only appeal to a certain portion of the population, you don't have a lot of incentive to go out and work with the full, diverse spectrum of people's backgrounds, interests and needs".

This comes back to the core issue that needs to be addressed by the General Assembly - who should draw the maps?

The movement of the bill at the state level occurred while the Legislature awaits a potential stay in the enforcement of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's order from the US Supreme Court. They need additional support from legislators to get them onto the floors of the House and Senate for a vote.

Six Republican secretaries of state ― from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and SC ― filed a joint amicus brief on Monday arguing that Pennsylvania could reasonably wait another few years to fix its congressional map.



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