Reducing Partisanship in Redistricting

HARRISBURG – After controversy in this year’s decennial process of redrawing district lines for the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives, the Senate State Government Committee, chaired by Senator David G. Argall (R-29), took action today by advancing two constitutional amendments to ensure future redistricting efforts are less partisan.

“One of my key priorities as the Chairman of the State Government Committee has been to begin to roll back the hyper-partisan gerrymandering sins of the past,” said Senator Argall.  “Last year’s process highlighted some key points of controversy that these two bills aim to address.”

Senate Bill 1182 changes how the Chairperson of the Legislative Reapportionment Commission is selected in the event of a stalemate.  Under this bill, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would now choose the chairperson at random from the current active senior judges of Pennsylvania’s appellate courts.  The current method of selection has led to accusations of partisanship by the state’s Supreme Court.

Senate Bill 1209 would ensure that the federal Census count is used to redraw maps without adjustments.  Last year, for the first time ever, the Legislative Reapportionment Commission—without a vote by the House or Senate—counted certain state prison inmates at an arbitrary last known address, instead of at the correctional facility where they are incarcerated, in direct contradiction of hundreds of years of precedent. 

These bills now advance to the Senate for its consideration.


Jim Brugger

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