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PRINTER'S NO. 964
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
767
Session of
2017
INTRODUCED BY COSTA, FONTANA, STREET, BOSCOLA AND BREWSTER,
JUNE 15, 2017
REFERRED TO STATE GOVERNMENT, JUNE 15, 2017
AN ACT
Amending the act of June 3, 1937 (P.L.1333, No.320), entitled
"An act concerning elections, including general, municipal,
special and primary elections, the nomination of candidates,
primary and election expenses and election contests; creating
and defining membership of county boards of elections;
imposing duties upon the Secretary of the Commonwealth,
courts, county boards of elections, county commissioners;
imposing penalties for violation of the act, and codifying,
revising and consolidating the laws relating thereto; and
repealing certain acts and parts of acts relating to
elections," providing for congressional redistricting
process; and establishing a congressional redistricting
commission.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. The act of June 3, 1937 (P.L.1333, No.320), known
as the Pennsylvania Election Code, is amended by adding an
article to read:
ARTICLE V-A
Congressional Redistricting Process
Section 501-A. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this article
shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
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context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Commission." A congressional redistricting commission
established under this article.
"Immediate family member." A parent, spouse, child, brother
or sister.
"Secretary." The Secretary of State of the Commonwealth.
Section 502-A. Census data.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in the year
immediately following the Federal decennial census, the
Legislative Data Processing Center shall:
(1) Obtain the census data for this Commonwealth from
the United States Census Bureau.
(2) Provide the adjusted population data to the
commission within 60 days after the Legislative Data
Processing Center receives the census data from the United
States Census Bureau.
Section 503-A. Congressional redistricting commission.
(a) Establishment.--No later than March 1 in the year
immediately following the Federal decennial census, a
congressional redistricting commission shall be constituted for
the purpose of redistricting the congressional districts of this
Commonwealth.
(b) Commission composition.--The commission shall consist of
the following members:
(1) Two individuals who are registered with the largest
political party in this Commonwealth based on registration.
(2) Two individuals who are registered with the second-
largest political party in this Commonwealth based on
registration.
(3) One individual who is not registered with either of
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the two largest political parties in this Commonwealth based
on registration.
(c) Qualifications.--Each member of the commission:
(1) Must be a voter who, in the five years immediately
preceding the date of the individual's appointment to the
commission:
(i) has been registered continuously in this
Commonwealth with the same political party or has been
unaffiliated with a political party and has not changed
political party affiliation during that five-year period;
and
(ii) has voted in at least three elections. For
purposes of this subparagraph, the term "election" means
a primary, general or municipal election.
(2) May not have been a candidate for election to or
served as Governor, a member of the General Assembly or a
member of the Congress of the United States from this
Commonwealth during the five years immediately preceding the
date of the individual's appointment, or be an immediate
family member established through blood or legal relation of
a candidate for an office specified in this paragraph or an
individual who held an office specified in this paragraph.
(3) May not have been convicted, found guilty or pleaded
guilty or nolo contendere to embezzlement of public money,
bribery, perjury or other infamous crime.
(4) May not be registered as a lobbyist in this
Commonwealth under 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 13A (relating to lobbying
disclosure), registered as a lobbyist before a political
subdivision in this Commonwealth or registered as a lobbyist
before the Federal Government.
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(5) May not be or have served as staff, a consultant to
a person under a contract with or a person with an immediate
family relationship through blood or legal relation to the
Governor, a member of the General Assembly or a member of the
Congress of the United States from this Commonwealth.
(6) May not hold an appointive office in the executive
branch or legislative branch of the Federal, State or local
government.
(d) Procedure for selection of members.--Application and
selection of the members of the commission shall be subject to
the following:
(1) Application to serve as a member of the commission
may be filed with, and on a form developed by, the secretary
indicating thereon evidence of the individual's
qualifications as provided by this section.
(2) The secretary shall verify the qualifications of
each applicant. If the secretary finds that an applicant is
not qualified, the secretary shall not include the
applicant's name in the pool of applicants.
(3) The secretary shall separate all qualified
applicants into three subpools consisting of those who are:
(i) registered with the largest political party in
this Commonwealth based on registration;
(ii) registered with the second-largest political
party in this Commonwealth based on registration; and
(iii) not registered with either of the two largest
political parties in this Commonwealth based on
registration.
(4) The secretary shall randomly select 20 qualified
applicants from each of the three subpools provided in
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paragraph (3). The Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the
Senate and the Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the
House of Representatives may each strike up to two applicants
from each subpool. Each leader shall have no more than six
strikes.
(5) After the legislative leaders have exercised their
strikes under paragraph (4), the secretary shall randomly
select for appointment as members of the commission from the
remaining applicants in each of the three subpools of
qualified applicants. In addition to the qualification
requirements provided in subsection (c), appointments from
each subpool shall reasonably reflect the racial, geographic
and gender diversity of this Commonwealth.
(6) One of the members shall be selected as chairperson
by a vote of at least three members of the commission.
(7) For purposes of this subsection, "randomly select"
means to select by the following process:
(i) The secretary shall fix a day for each random
drawing of names from each of the three subpools of
qualified applicants created under paragraph (3), in such
a manner as may be prescribed by the secretary, for the
purpose of:
(A) preliminary selection of 20 applicants from
each of the three subpools under paragraph (4); and
(B) final selection from the remaining
applicants in each of the three subpools for
appointment as members of the commission pursuant to
paragraph (5).
(ii) For purposes of preliminary selection of 20
applicants from each of the three subpools under
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paragraph (4), each applicant shall draw a number from a
set of sequentially numbered cards assigned to each
subpool. The applicants who draw cards numbered 1 through
20 shall remain in the subpool.
(iii) For purposes of final selection from the
remaining applicants in each of the three subpools for
appointment as commission members pursuant to paragraph
(5), each applicant shall draw a number from a set of
sequentially numbered cards assigned to each subpool. The
secretary shall appoint the following applicants to serve
on the commission:
(A) Applicants in the subpool created under
paragraph(3)(i) who draw cards numbered 1 and 2.
(B) Applicants in the subpool created under
paragraph(3)(ii) who draw cards numbered 1 and 2.
(C) The applicant in the subpool created under
paragraph(3)(iii) who draws the card numbered 1.
(iv) The secretary shall give at least two days'
notice by mail of the date to all applicants remaining in
each subpool of qualified applicants and by publication
once in at least two newspapers of general circulation
published in each county.
(v) All remaining applicants in each of the three
subpools subject to random selection may appear in person
or by agent duly authorized by letter of attorney, signed
and acknowledged by an officer empowered to take
acknowledgments.
(vi) In the event a selected applicant is not
present in person or by representative at the time of the
random drawing, the secretary shall appoint another
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individual to represent such absentee.
(e) Terms.--The terms of office of each member of the
commission shall expire on the appointment of the first member
of the succeeding commission.
(f) Voting.--
(1) Four members of the commission shall constitute a
quorum.
(2) Except as provided in subsection (d)(6), at least
four affirmative votes of the commission shall be required
for official action, including preliminary and final plans
for congressional districts adopted by the commission.
Section 504-A. Member removal and vacancies.
(a) Member removal.--
(1) If a member of the commission is convicted, found
guilty or pleads guilty or nolo contendere to embezzlement of
public money, bribery, perjury or other infamous crime,
whether or not sentence has been imposed, the member's
position shall be deemed vacant.
(2) If a member of the commission fails to attend more
than two consecutive meetings at which a vote of the
commission is scheduled, the member's position shall be
deemed vacant unless the member is absent due to the member's
serious illness or the death or serious illness of an
immediate family member.
(b) Vacancies.--A vacancy on the commission shall be filled
within 14 days from the time the commission is notified of the
vacancy in the same manner that the position was originally
filled and using the same pool of applicants from which the
vacating member was chosen. If none of the remaining applicants
are available for service, the secretary shall fill the vacancy
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from a new pool of applicants created from the same voter
registration category as the vacating member.
Section 505-A. Commission conduct.
(a) Public access.--
(1) The activities of the commission are subject to the
provisions of 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to open meetings)
and the act of February 14, 2008 (P.L.6, No.3), known as the
Right-to-Know Law. The commission shall be considered a
legislative agency as defined in section 102 of the Right-to-
Know Law.
(2) Notwithstanding 65 Pa.C.S. § 709(a) (relating to
public notice), the commission shall provide no less than 14
days' prior public notice for each meeting.
(3) The commission shall maintain a publicly accessible
Internet website for purposes of providing public notice of
hearings, receiving public comment, publishing census data in
multiple commonly used formats, such as geographic
information systems (GIS) mapping files, keyhole markup
language (KML) files and Microsoft Excel files, and
publishing the preliminary and final redistricting plans as
required by this article.
(b) Hearing process.--
(1) The commission shall establish and implement an open
hearing process for public comment and deliberation that is
designed to encourage citizen outreach and solicit broad
public participation in the redistricting public review
process.
(2) The hearing process shall:
(i) Include hearings to receive public comment
before the commission adopts preliminary and final plans
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and at least one hearing following the adoption and
display of a preliminary plan.
(ii) Be supplemented with other activities as
appropriate to further increase opportunities for the
public to observe and participate in the review process.
(3) The commission shall:
(i) Display the plan for public comment in a manner
designed to achieve the widest public access reasonably
possible.
(ii) Take public comment for 14 days from the date
of public display of a preliminary redistricting plan.
(c) Ex parte communication.--
(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), commission
members and staff may not communicate with or receive
communications about redistricting matters from anyone unless
during a public hearing or as provided in this article.
(2) Commission members may communicate with other
members, staff, legal counsel, consultants retained by the
commission, staff and consultants of the Legislative Data
Processing Center and the United States Census Bureau.
(d) Compensation.--Members of the commission may not receive
a salary, but the General Assembly shall appropriate sufficient
funds for the reimbursement of reasonable and necessary expenses
for members and staff appointed by the commission incurred in
the performance of their duties under this article.
Section 506-A. Congressional redistricting process and
criteria.
(a) First meeting.--The commission shall convene its first
meeting on or before May 1 of the year following each Federal
decennial census.
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(b) Timeline for hearings and plans.--
(1) At its first meeting or on or before 30 days after
the commission receives the adjusted census data from the
Legislative Data Processing Center, whichever is later, the
commission shall commence a series of public hearings to
receive public comment concerning a redistricting plan.
(2) (i) On or before October 1 of the year that the
commission receives the adjusted census data from the
Legislative Data Processing Center, the commission shall
hold at least six hearings throughout this Commonwealth.
(ii) The hearings required under this paragraph
shall be held at times that are likely to maximize public
participation and in locations that encompass the
geographic, racial and ethnic diversity of this
Commonwealth.
(iii) The commission shall conduct an open and
transparent process enabling public consideration of and
comment on the drawing of district lines as required by
this article.
(3) Following the conclusion of the public hearings
required under paragraph (2), but no later than October 31 of
the year that the commission receives the adjusted census
data from the Legislative Data Processing Center, the
commission shall prepare and adopt a preliminary plan for
congressional districts.
(4) On or before November 30 of the year that the
commission receives the adjusted census data from the
Legislative Data Processing Center, the commission shall:
(i) Publish the preliminary plan on the commission's
publicly accessible Internet website.
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(ii) Submit the preliminary plan to the secretary
for publication once in at least one newspaper of general
circulation in each congressional district.
(iii) Issue with the preliminary plan a report that:
(A) Explains the basis which the commission used
in preparing the preliminary plan in compliance with
the criteria required under this article.
(B) Includes definitions of the terms and
standards the commission used in preparing the
preliminary plan.
(iv) (A) Hold at least one public hearing on the
preliminary plan.
(B) Allow the public to submit comments to the
commission through the commission's publicly
accessible Internet website concerning the
preliminary plan.
(5) On or before December 15 of the year the commission
receives the adjusted census data from the Legislative Data
Processing Center, the commission shall adopt and publish a
final congressional redistricting plan on the commission's
publicly accessible Internet website and submit the final
redistricting plan to the secretary for publication once in
at least one newspaper of general circulation in each
congressional district.
(6) If the commission does not complete and approve a
final redistricting plan within the time prescribed in this
section, unless the time is extended by the Supreme Court of
Pennsylvania for cause shown on application by the
commission, the secretary shall immediately petition the
Supreme Court for an order directing the appointment of a
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special master to develop and complete a final redistricting
plan in accordance with the district requirements provided in
this section. The special master must demonstrate expertise
in geographic information systems by holding a graduate
degree in geographic information systems and currently
serving as a faculty member for a geographic information
systems program at an institution of higher learning located
within this Commonwealth and must meet the qualifications in
section 503-A(c). Upon the Supreme Court's approval of the
master's plan, the court shall certify the resulting plan to
the secretary and that plan shall constitute the final
congressional redistricting plan for the Commonwealth.
(c) District requirements.--
(1) (i) Congressional districts shall be established on
the basis of population.
(ii) Each congressional district shall:
(A) Comply with the Constitution of the United
States.
(B) Comply with the Voting Rights Act of 1965
(Public Law 89-110, 52 U.S.C. § 10301 et seq.).
(C) Be equal in population, except where
deviation is required to comply with the Voting
Rights Act of 1965 or is otherwise allowed by law.
(D) Without violating the requirements of this
section, respect the geographic integrity of a county
or municipality, to the extent possible.
(E) Be geographically contiguous. Areas that
meet only at the points of adjoining corners shall
not be deemed contiguous.
(F) To the extent practicable and, if it does
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not conflict with the criteria specified in clauses
(A), (B), (C), (D) and (E) and paragraph (2), be
drawn to encourage geographic compactness.
(2) To the extent consistent with paragraph (1)(ii)(C),
district boundaries shall coincide with the boundaries of
political subdivisions of this Commonwealth. The number of
counties and municipalities divided among more than one
district shall be as few as possible.
(d) Other redistricting data.--In establishing districts
consistent with Federal and State law, the commission may
utilize other redistricting data, including voter registration
and previous election results.
Section 507-A. Final congressional redistricting plan.
(a) General rule.--The final redistricting plan for
congressional districts prepared and adopted by the commission
under section 506-A shall:
(1) be the congressional redistricting plan for the
Commonwealth; and
(2) be filed with the secretary within seven days of the
plan being adopted by the commission.
(b) Aggrieved persons.--An aggrieved person must file an
appeal from the final congressional redistricting plan with a
United States District Court in Pennsylvania within 30 days
after the filing of the final congressional redistricting plan.
(c) Effective date of plan.--When a court has finally
decided an appeal under subsection (b) or when the last day for
filing an appeal has passed with no appeal taken, the final
congressional redistricting plan shall have the force and effect
of law and the districts in the final congressional
redistricting plan shall be used thereafter in elections for
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representatives from this Commonwealth to the House of
Representatives of the United States until the adoption of a new
congressional redistricting plan following the next Federal
decennial census.
Section 2. This act shall take effect October 1, 2017, or
immediately, whichever is later.
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