Pa. House Expected to Vote on Congress Card Proposal as Redistribution Litigation Looms | News


HARRISBURG – The State House is expected to vote on a congressional card proposal this week, as spring primary deadlines and a lawsuit that asks Pennsylvania’s highest court to take over the all-important process looms.

A spokesperson for the House Republicans told Spotlight PA the chamber would likely consider amendments to the proposal on Tuesday, with a final vote expected on Wednesday.

The preliminary map was approved by the House State Government Committee in December along partisan lines.

Panel Chairman Rep. Seth Grove, R-York, first presented a map drawn by a well-known redistribution lawyer – former Lehigh County Republican Commissioner Amanda Holt – and greeted it in response to public pressure to withdraw lawmakers from the redesign deal.

After complaints from some panel members, the committee came up with an amended version of this map a week later, before the public could review it.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who must approve the card for it to take effect, said in a letter that the card lacks partisan fairness and creates an outcome that is not proportional to the balance of Democratic voters. and Republicans in the state.

The decade-long process of drawing new political boundaries helps determine the balance of power in Harrisburg and Washington. In the past, this was a highly politicized process that has been the subject of prosecution and accusations of gerrymandering – when a map is drawn for the benefit of a political party.

With Republicans in control of both executive and legislative branches a decade ago, Wolf’s role as governor gives Democrats the opportunity to reject the proposal.

Despite the importance of the map, Wolf and the Legislature are racing against time.

The state’s top election official has asked to receive the final card from Congress by Jan. 24 in order to meet the first deadline associated with the spring primary.

Unlike the State House and Senate cards, the current Congress card is unusable because the state lost one of its 18 seats due to low population growth.

Anticipating that Wolf and the Republican-controlled legislature will not be able to reach a deal on the Congress map in time, concerned citizens and advocates of the redistribution are lobbying the state Supreme Court to take over.

Two pursuits targeting the map – one of a group of locals who live in densely populated areas, the other of mathematicians and scientists in search of a “data-driven” process – have were filed in Commonwealth Court in December.

The lawsuits, which have since merged into one, argue that the courts should intervene in the process and ban the state from using the current card for the 2022 election.

In late December, the Commonwealth Court gave Wolf and the legislature until January 30 to pass a plan, while it asked interested parties to submit proposals. If this is unsuccessful, the court will begin reviewing the submitted cards the next day.

The parties who brought the lawsuit also asked the state Supreme Court to take the case immediately. The court can make a decision on the request at any time or refuse to respond to it.

A number of people, including Wolf and key Democratic and Republican leaders, have asked to intervene in the case, as have members of the fair constituency advocacy groups represented by the Public Interest Law Center.

The center dealt with the case that saw the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2018 pass a new congressional map, finding the one approved by former Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in 2011 to be an “unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.”

If the State House approves a card, it will then go to the State Senate for review. Lawmakers in this chamber are expected to release their own congressional map proposal this week.

The Pennsylvania State House and Senate maps are drawn through a separate process controlled by the Legislative Redistribution Commission, a five-person panel made up of the four main legislative leaders from the two main parties and a non-partisan president.

The commission released the initial maps of the State House and Senate in December, which are now subject to a 30-day public comment period that ends on January 18. You can see how your district would change based on these suggestions by using Spotlight PA’s map comparison tool at projectorpa.org/mondistrict.

After that, the commission has an additional 30 days to make adjustments. Anyone who objects to one or both cards can appeal to the state Supreme Court within 30 days.

Danielle Ohl of Spotlight PA contributed reporting. This article is part of a one-year draft report focusing on redistribution and gerrymandering in Pennsylvania. It is made possible through the support of members of Spotlight PA and Votebeat, a project focused on election integrity and voting access.

Danielle Ohl of Spotlight PA contributed reporting. This article is part of a one-year draft report focusing on redistribution and gerrymandering in Pennsylvania. It is made possible through the support of members of Spotlight PA and Votebeat, a project focused on election integrity and voting access.

Previous Dana White and Joe Rogan make 2021 list of the planet's most powerful artists
Next Is the fertility rate of the Nigerian state of Niger the highest in the north-central zone?