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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: February 16, 2016 02:53 PM
From: Representative Brian Sims
To: All House members
Subject: Legislation Creating Non-Partisan Redistricting Commissions
In the near future, I plan to introduce a joint resolution proposing a constitutional amendment, creating non-partisan redistricting commissions in Pennsylvania.

As we have seen in the past, Pennsylvania’s current process of redistricting is plagued by gerrymandering and political partisanship. As a result, the interests of the people in having accurate and equal representation within their districts has been tossed aside in favor of the interests of political parties and incumbents.

Under my bill, the Pennsylvania Constitution will be amended to replace the Legislative Reapportionment Commission with the Legislative Districting Commission and the Congressional Districting Commission. The members of these commissions will be appointed by the Director of the Legislative Reference Bureau, a non-partisan entity. The commission will include the following at a minimum: a demographer, a cartographer, an applied mathematician, a computer scientist, and a lawyer or legal expert who specializes in election and redistricting law. Additionally, in order to preserve non-partisanship, members of these commissions may not include elected officials, officials appointed by the Senate, or political candidates.

Both of these commissions will be responsible for creating legislative and congressional redistricting plans, holding public hearings, and submitting the plans to the General Assembly for approval, who may not amend the plan. If the General Assembly fails to approve the commission’s plan after 52 days, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will create the redistricting plans.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation to remove partisanship from the redistricting process.