House of votes for GOP-friendly congressional redistribution plan | Pennsylvania News

By MARK SCOLFORO, Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A plan to redraw the boundaries of Pennsylvania’s congressional districts to accommodate a decade of population displacement was passed by State House on Wednesday with a partisan vote that signaled lawmakers should face more redistribution work.

Two Republicans from suburban Philadelphia joined with all Democrats in voting against the proposal that would reshuffle the state to take into account the results of the 2020 census which increased the state’s congressional delegation from 18 to 17 members.

York County Representative Seth Grove, the Republican chairman of the state government committee that sponsored the proposal, called it a “historic deviation from how this body has operated in the past.” because it was based on a submission from an outside volunteer map designer. State government.

He said the card would likely result in eight Democratic districts, eight Republican districts and a coin toss, and praised his proposal following public hearings in the state.

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“Not everyone is happy with every card,” Grove said during the floor debate. “We are a large state, we have a lot of communities of interest. “

The schedule is getting tight for lawmakers to produce congressional cards without delaying the May 17 primary election. In Pennsylvania, congressional maps are treated as ordinary legislation that must be passed by both houses of the Republican-majority General Assembly before being submitted for approval by Democratic Governor Tom Wolf.

Grove’s Democratic counterpart on the committee, Center County Rep. Scott Conklin, called the proposal a partisan card and told lawmakers the process had not been transparent, despite Grove’s assurances.

Conklin said he doesn’t know why Republicans are advancing this particular card.

“They just decided, ‘Hey, this is the card we love,’” Conklin said.

Representative Pam DeLissio, D-Philadelphia, warned against adopting a bad map that the state could be stuck with for a decade.

“I have no doubt that there was citizen input along the way, but it was not a citizen-centered process,” she said. “It was a process led by elected officials. “

Grove noted that Democrats had not proposed any amendments to his plan and that no other lawmaker had introduced a congressional redistribution map as legislation.

If lawmakers fail to pass a new map, the process could end up being decided in the courts. On Monday, the state’s Supreme Court refused to take up the issue of congressional redistribution as a matter of urgency, but said it could intervene “depending on future developments.”

New maps for General Assembly districts are being developed by a five-member legislative redistribution commission, which has already produced preliminary maps. People have until Jan. 18 to file objections to these state-proposed legislative maps. The objections go to the state Supreme Court, which could further delay the process.

The period during which candidates must collect enough voters’ signatures to qualify for the primary ballots is expected to begin Feb. 15, and counties say they need several weeks in advance to prepare material for this process. .

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