Boscola, Scavello spon­sor bill to end Ger­ry­man­der­ing

The Kutztown Area Patriot - - LOCAL NEWS - Pa Se­nate

State Sen­a­tors Lisa Boscola (D-Le­high/Northamp­ton) and Mario Scavello (R-Mon­roe/Northamp­ton) have in­tro­duced bi­par­ti­san leg­is­la­tion that would es­tab­lish an in­de­pen­dent com­mis­sion to draw up Penn­syl­va­nia’s leg­isla­tive maps.

“It’s time to take the stake­hold­ers out of the redis­trict­ing process and turn it over to the peo­ple,” Boscola said. “We can’t fix how we’re gov­erned un­til we fix how we choose who gov­erns us.”

“I am look­ing for­ward to work­ing with Se­na­tor Boscola to move this leg­is­la­tion for­ward,” Scavello said. “It is im­por­tant that leg­is­la­tors on both sides of the aisle up­hold a sys­tem of vot­ing dis­tricts that best rep­re­sents our cit­i­zens and the re­gions in which they live.”

Se­nate Bill 22 would es­tab­lish an 11-mem­ber in­de­pen­dent com­mis­sion com­prised by four in­di­vid­u­als reg­is­tered with the largest po­lit­i­cal party in the Com­mon­wealth, four reg­is­tered with the sec­ond-largest party, and three peo­ple not af­fil­i­ated with ei­ther ma­jor po­lit­i­cal party. The com­mis­sion would draw up both Con­gres­sional and state leg­isla­tive dis­trict maps. It would take a ma­jor­ity of seven – with sup­port from a qual­i­fied ma­jor­ity of Com­mis­sion mem­bers -- for a redis­trict­ing plan to win ap­proval.

Com­mis­sion mem­bers would not be al­lowed to hold po­lit­i­cal or party of­fice, be re­lated to those who hold of­fice, or work for those who hold of­fice. Scavello and Boscola said state leg­isla­tive dis­tricts would be re­drawn us­ing mod­ern tech­nol­ogy and soft­ware, and fo­cus on stan­dards such as ideal pop­u­la­tion bal­ance in ac­cor­dance with ex­ist­ing fed­eral and state laws.

Boscola and Scavello said it is cru­cial that the leg­is­la­ture act quickly if it hopes to have their bi­par­ti­san re­form plan in place for the next round of reap­por­tion­ment in 2020. The law­mak­ers pointed to the state’s 2010 redis­trict­ing bat­tle as an ex­am­ple of how pol­i­tics can in­ter­fere with the redis­trict­ing process.

“As I said when I first in­tro­duced the in­de­pen­dent com­mis­sion pro­posal years ago, we need an in­de­pen­dent sys­tem where vot­ers select their lead­ers, not the other way around,” Boscola said. “The cur­rent process in­vites ger­ry­man­der­ing, robs cit­i­zens of com­pet­i­tive races and spurs the kind of par­ti­san po­lar­iza­tion that has stymied leg­isla­tive work in both Wash­ing­ton, D.C. and Har­ris­burg.”

A num­ber of or­ga­ni­za­tions in­clud­ing Com­mon Cause of PA and Fair Dis­tricts PA have en­dorsed the Boscola/Scavello bill.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.