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PRIOR PASSAGE - NONE
PRINTER'S NO. 225
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
243
Session of
2017
INTRODUCED BY LEACH, SCHWANK AND BOSCOLA, JANUARY 27, 2017
REFERRED TO STATE GOVERNMENT, JANUARY 27, 2017
A JOINT RESOLUTION
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania, further providing for a Legislative
Reapportionment Commission to designate legislative districts
for the General Assembly within this Commonwealth.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby resolves as follows:
Section 1. The following amendment to the Constitution of
Pennsylvania is proposed in accordance with Article XI:
That section 17 of Article II be amended to read:
ยง 17. Legislative Reapportionment Commission.
[(a) In each year following the year of the Federal
decennial census, a Legislative Reapportionment Commission shall
be constituted for the purpose of reapportioning the
Commonwealth. The commission shall act by a majority of its
entire membership.
(b) The commission shall consist of five members: four of
whom shall be the majority and minority leaders of both the
Senate and the House of Representatives, or deputies appointed
by each of them, and a chairman selected as hereinafter
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provided. No later than 60 days following the official reporting
of the Federal decennial census as required by Federal law, the
four members shall be certified by the President pro tempore of
the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to
the elections officer of the Commonwealth who under law shall
have supervision over elections.
The four members within 45 days after their certification
shall select the fifth member, who shall serve as chairman of
the commission, and shall immediately certify his name to such
elections officer. The chairman shall be a citizen of the
Commonwealth other than a local, State or Federal official
holding an office to which compensation is attached.
If the four members fail to select the fifth member within
the time prescribed, a majority of the entire membership of the
Supreme Court within 30 days thereafter shall appoint the
chairman as aforesaid and certify his appointment to such
elections officer.
Any vacancy in the commission shall be filled within 15 days
in the same manner in which such position was originally filled.
(c) No later than 90 days after either the commission has
been duly certified or the population data for the Commonwealth
as determined by the Federal decennial census are available,
whichever is later in time, the commission shall file a
preliminary reapportionment plan with such elections officer.
The commission shall have 30 days after filing the
preliminary plan to make corrections in the plan.
Any person aggrieved by the preliminary plan shall have the
same 30-day period to file exceptions with the commission in
which case the commission shall have 30 days after the date the
exceptions were filed to prepare and file with such elections
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officer a revised reapportionment plan. If no exceptions are
filed within 30 days, or if filed and acted upon, the
commission's plan shall be final and have the force of law.
(d) Any aggrieved person may file an appeal from the final
plan directly to the Supreme Court within 30 days after the
filing thereof. If the appellant establishes that the final plan
is contrary to law, the Supreme Court shall issue an order
remanding the plan to the commission and directing the
commission to reapportion the Commonwealth in a manner not
inconsistent with such order.
(e) When the Supreme Court has finally decided an appeal or
when the last day for filing an appeal has passed with no appeal
taken, the reapportionment plan shall have the force of law and
the districts therein provided shall be used thereafter in
elections to the General Assembly until the next reapportionment
as required under this section 17.
(f) Any district which does not include the residence from
which a member of the Senate was elected whether or not
scheduled for election at the next general election shall elect
a Senator at such election.
(g) The General Assembly shall appropriate sufficient funds
for the compensation and expenses of members and staff appointed
by the commission, and other necessary expenses. The members of
the commission shall be entitled to such compensation for their
services as the General Assembly from time to time shall
determine, but no part thereof shall be paid until a preliminary
plan is filed. If a preliminary plan is filed but the commission
fails to file a revised or final plan within the time
prescribed, the commission members shall forfeit all right to
compensation not paid.
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(h) If a preliminary, revised or final reapportionment plan
is not filed by the commission within the time prescribed by
this section, unless the time be extended by the Supreme Court
for cause shown, the Supreme Court shall immediately proceed on
its own motion to reapportion the Commonwealth.
(i) Any reapportionment plan filed by the commission, or
ordered or prepared by the Supreme Court upon the failure of the
commission to act, shall be published by the elections officer
once in at least one newspaper of general circulation in each
senatorial and representative district. The publication shall
contain a map of the Commonwealth showing the complete
reapportionment of the General Assembly by districts, and a map
showing the reapportionment districts in the area normally
served by the newspaper in which the publication is made. The
publication shall also state the population of the senatorial
and representative districts having the smallest and largest
population and the percentage variation of such districts from
the average population for senatorial and representative
districts.]
(a) In each year following the Federal decennial census, a
Reapportionment Commission shall be constituted for the purpose
of reapportioning the districts of the Senate and House of
Representatives of the General Assembly and the districts
apportioned to the Commonwealth in the House of Representatives
of the Congress. Unless otherwise directed by court order,
legislative and congressional reapportionment shall only be
permitted once in the decade following the Federal decennial
census.
(b) The commission shall consist of nine members: eight of
whom shall be the majority and minority leaders and whips of
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both the Senate and House of Representatives, or deputies
appointed by each of them. The Supreme Court shall appoint one
member who shall serve as chairman who shall be a registered
voter within the Commonwealth for at least two years prior to
appointment. The chairman may not hold an office of Federal,
State or local government to which compensation is attached at
the time of his appointment. The chairman may not have held a
position within a political party for at least 10 years prior to
appointment. No later than 60 days following the official
reporting of the Federal decennial census as required by Federal
law, the legislator members of the commission shall be certified
by the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of
the House of Representatives to the elections officer of the
Commonwealth who, under law, shall have supervision over
elections. The Supreme Court shall appoint the chairman of the
commission during the same 60-day period and shall certify the
appointment to the elections officer of the Commonwealth. Any
vacancy in the commission shall be filled within 15 days in the
same manner in which that position was originally filled.
(c) The commission may not utilize any political or personal
considerations in drafting a reapportionment plan either
legislative or congressional. The commission may not divide any
voting precinct that forms a single polygon in drafting a
reapportionment plan. The commission may not divide a county,
city, township, borough or incorporated town unless absolutely
necessary. In finding that a division is necessary, the
commission must file the findings in an addendum to each plan
adopted by the commission. The appropriate addendum must be
submitted to the General Assembly and the Supreme Court along
with each reapportionment plan under the provisions of this
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section. The commission shall adopt a standard measurement
defining compactness for the districts in each plan. No district
in any plan may be drafted by the commission with a compactness
measurement of less than 15% of the total ideal measurement for
a district.
(d) No later than 60 days after either the commission has
been duly certified or usable population data for the
Commonwealth is available, whichever is later in time, the
commission shall file a preliminary reapportionment plan for the
General Assembly with such elections officer. A public comment
period of 30 days shall commence with the filing of the
preliminary plan.
(e) The commission shall have 30 days after the date of the
expiration of the public comment period to prepare and adopt a
revised reapportionment plan for both Houses of the General
Assembly. The revised reapportionment plan shall be adopted and
submitted to the General Assembly upon a vote of at least seven
members of the commission for approval. The General Assembly
shall vote to approve or reject the plan without amendment
within 30 days from the date of submission. Upon approval of the
plan, the presiding officer of each House shall, in the presence
of the House over which the officer presides, sign the
reapportionment plan after its title has been read publicly
immediately before signing. The fact of the signing shall be
entered on the journal and the plan shall be filed with the
chief elections officer of the Commonwealth.
(f) If the revised reapportionment plan submitted by the
commission is not approved by both Houses of the General
Assembly within 30 days of submission, the commission shall
adopt a final reapportionment plan. In the event the revised
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reapportionment plan is rejected by either House of the General
Assembly, it shall be returned to the commission by the
presiding officer with a communication that the plan was
rejected. An additional 30-day public comment period shall
commence from the date of the rejection. The commission shall
have a succeeding 30 days after the public comment period to
adopt a final plan upon approval of at least seven members. The
final plan shall be submitted to both Houses of the General
Assembly for approval. The General Assembly shall vote to
approve or reject the plan without amendment within 30 days from
the date of submission. Upon approval of the plan, the presiding
officer of each House shall, in the presence of the House over
which the officer presides, sign the reapportionment plan after
its title has been read publicly immediately before signing. The
fact of the signing shall be entered on the journal and the plan
shall then be filed with the chief elections officer of the
Commonwealth.
(g) An aggrieved person may file an appeal from the final
plan directly to the Supreme Court within 30 days after the
filing of the final plan. If the appellant establishes that the
final plan is contrary to law, the Supreme Court shall issue an
order remanding the plan to the commission and directing the
commission to reapportion the Commonwealth in a manner not
inconsistent with the order.
(h) If the final reapportionment plan submitted by the
commission is not approved by both Houses of the General
Assembly within 30 days, the reapportionment commission shall
then submit both the revised and final reapportionment plans to
the Supreme Court within five days.
(i) The Supreme Court shall have 30 days to adopt either the
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revised reapportionment plan or the final reapportionment plan
as the plan to be utilized thereafter in elections to the
General Assembly until the next reapportionment as required
under this section. If the Supreme Court finds that both plans
are contrary to law, it shall issue an order remanding the plan
to the commission and directing the commission to reapportion
the Commonwealth in a manner not inconsistent with the order.
The commission shall then have 30 days to submit the
reapportionment plan to the Supreme Court.
(j) The General Assembly shall appropriate sufficient funds
for the compensation and expenses of members and staff appointed
by the commission, and other necessary expenses. The members of
the commission who are not members of the General Assembly shall
be entitled to such compensation for their services as the
General Assembly from time to time shall determine, but no part
of the compensation shall be paid until a preliminary
legislative reapportionment plan is filed. If a preliminary plan
is filed but the commission fails to file a revised or a final
plan within the time prescribed, the commission members shall
forfeit all right to compensation not paid.
(k) If a preliminary, revised or final legislative
reapportionment plan is not filed by the commission within the
time prescribed by this section, unless the time be extended by
the Supreme Court for cause shown, the Supreme Court shall
immediately proceed on its own motion to reapportion the
Commonwealth.
(l) Any reapportionment plan filed by the commission, or
ordered by the Supreme Court upon failure of the commission to
act, shall be published by the elections officer once in at
least one newspaper of general circulation in each senatorial
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and representative district. The publication shall contain a map
of the Commonwealth showing the complete reapportionment of the
General Assembly by districts and a map showing the
reapportioned districts in the area normally served by the
newspaper in which the publication is made. The publication
shall also state the population of the senatorial and
representative districts having the smallest and largest
population and the percentage variation of those districts from
the average population for senatorial and representative
districts.
(m) No later than 20 days after the final legislative
reapportionment plan has been approved by either the General
Assembly or the Supreme Court, the commission shall file a
preliminary reapportionment plan for Representatives in the
Congress with the chief elections officer of the Commonwealth. A
public comment period of 30 days shall commence with the filing
of the preliminary congressional plan.
(n) The commission shall have 20 days after the date of the
expiration of the public comment period to prepare and adopt a
revised reapportionment plan for Representatives in the
Congress. The revised reapportionment plan shall be adopted and
submitted to the General Assembly upon a vote of at least seven
members of the commission for approval. The General Assembly
shall vote to approve or reject the plan without amendment
within 15 days from the date of submission. Upon approval of the
plan, the presiding officer of each House shall, in the presence
of the House over which the officer presides, sign the
reapportionment plan after its title has been read publicly
immediately before signing and the fact of the signing shall be
entered on the journal. The plan shall then be filed with the
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chief elections officer of the Commonwealth.
(o) If the revised reapportionment plan submitted by the
commission is not approved by both Houses of the General
Assembly within 15 days of submission, the commission shall
adopt a final reapportionment plan for the congressional
districts. In the event the revised reapportionment plan is
rejected by either House of the General Assembly, it shall be
returned to the commission by the presiding officer with a
communication that the plan was rejected. An additional 20-day
public comment period shall commence from the date of the
rejection of the revised plan. The commission shall have a
succeeding 20 days after the public comment period to adopt a
final plan upon approval of at least seven members. The final
plan shall be submitted to both Houses of the General Assembly
for approval. The General Assembly shall vote to approve or
reject the plan without amendment within 15 days from the date
of submission. Upon approval of the plan, the presiding officer
of each House shall, in the presence of the House over which the
officer presides, sign the reapportionment plan after its title
has been read publicly immediately before signing and the fact
of the signing shall be entered on the journal. The plan shall
then be filed with the chief elections officer of the
Commonwealth.
(p) An aggrieved person may file an appeal from the final
plan directly to the Supreme Court within 30 days after the
filing of the final plan. If the appellant establishes that the
final plan is contrary to law, the Supreme Court shall issue an
order remanding the plan to the commission and directing the
commission to reapportion the Commonwealth in a manner not
inconsistent with that order.
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(q) If the final reapportionment plan submitted by the
commission is not approved by both Houses of the General
Assembly within 15 days, the reapportionment commission shall
then submit both the revised and final reapportionment plans to
the Supreme Court within five days.
(r) If an entirely new senatorial district is formed and if
it would not normally be electing a member of the Senate in the
following general election, the district shall initially elect a
senator for a term of two years in the general election. After
the initial two-year term the district shall elect a senator for
a term of four years. No member of the Senate may continue to
serve in office after another member of the Senate begins that
Senator's term of service on the first day of December next
after the election representing the district.
(s) Population requirements are as follows:
(1) Congressional districts shall each have a population as
nearly equal as practicable.
(2) Legislative districts shall be established on the basis
of population. In no case shall the deviation of the overall
range of population of the most populous district from the least
populous district be greater than 8% of the average district
population for each house.
(t) The Supreme Court shall have 30 days to adopt either the
revised congressional reapportionment plan or the final
congressional reapportionment plan as the plan to be utilized
thereafter in elections to the Congress of the United States
until the next reapportionment as required under this section.
If the Supreme Court finds that both plans are contrary to law,
it shall issue an order remanding the plan to the commission and
directing the commission to reapportion the Commonwealth in a
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manner not inconsistent with the order. The commission shall
then have 15 days to submit the reapportionment plan to the
Supreme Court.
(u) If a preliminary, revised or final congressional
reapportionment plan is not filed by the commission within the
time prescribed by this section, unless the time be extended by
the Supreme Court for cause shown, the Supreme Court shall
immediately proceed on its own motion to reapportion the
congressional districts of the Commonwealth.
(v) A congressional reapportionment plan filed by the
commission, or ordered by the Supreme Court upon failure of the
commission to act, shall be published by the elections officer
once in at least one newspaper of general circulation in each
congressional district. The publication shall contain a map of
the Commonwealth showing the complete reapportionment of the
congressional districts and a map showing the reapportioned
districts in the area normally served by the newspaper in which
the publication is made. The publication shall also state the
population of the congressional districts having the smallest
and largest population and the percentage variation of those
districts from the average population for congressional
districts.
(w) Nothing contained in this section may preclude the
General Assembly from enacting legislation that further defines
the provisions of this section or provides for additional
requirements or restrictions for legislative or congressional
reapportionment.
Section 2. (a) Upon the first passage by the General
Assembly of this proposed constitutional amendment, the
Secretary of the Commonwealth shall proceed immediately to
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comply with the advertising requirements of section 1 of Article
XI of the Constitution of Pennsylvania and shall transmit the
required advertisements to two newspapers in every county in
which such newspapers are published in sufficient time after
passage of this proposed constitutional amendment.
(b) Upon the second passage by the General Assembly of this
proposed constitutional amendment, the Secretary of the
Commonwealth shall proceed immediately to comply with the
advertising requirements of section 1 of Article XI of the
Constitution of Pennsylvania and shall transmit the required
advertisements to two newspapers in every county in which such
newspapers are published in sufficient time after passage of
this proposed constitutional amendment. The Secretary of the
Commonwealth shall submit this proposed constitutional amendment
to the qualified electors of this Commonwealth at the first
primary, general or municipal election which meets the
requirements of and is in conformance with section 1 of Article
XI of the Constitution of Pennsylvania and which occurs at least
three months after the proposed constitutional amendment is
passed by the General Assembly.
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