The Brennan Center: Redistricting Reform Alive in PA

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A bipartisan group of Pennsylvania lawmakers at the forefront of redistricting reform in the Keystone State continue to make the news. This time, the nonpartisan nonprofit the Brennan Center for Justice wrote a great piece about the effort in general and Senate Bill 484 in particular.

For those who aren’t familiar, Pennsylvania is among the most gerrymandered states in the U.S.

And The Brennan Center story explains why that’s a very bad thing:

But more than being bizarrely shaped, Pennsylvania’s redistricting plans are wildly unrepresentative by many measures. Under the current districts maps, Pennsylvania’s Republicans have enjoyed consistent success in congressional and state legislative elections, despite frequently not winning the majority of the statewide vote. President Obama carried the state in 2008 and 2012, and voters also chose Democrats for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and state auditor in the last few election cycles. In fact, no Republican currently holds an executive office that is elected statewide.

Yet the state’s delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives currently includes 13 Republicans compared with just five Democrats. Similarly, Republicans hold 60 percent of the state Senate seats and 58 percent of the state House.

And about Senate Bill 484 – a piece of legislation that would shift the responsibility of drawing maps to an independent commission?

Here’s a tidbit from the Brennan Center story about the bill:

The commission would consist of 11 members—four Democrats, four Republicans, and three members not registered with either major—who would be selected at random from a pool of applicants compiled and vetted by the secretary of the commonwealth. The bill also includes eligibility restrictions which attempt to eliminate conflicts of interest. Any person who has been an elected official, spouse of an elected official, party official, paid staff member, political consultant, or registered lobbyist during the five years preceding redistricting would be ineligible to serve on the commission.

The whole story can be viewed right here.

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