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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 24, 2017 01:29 PM
From: Representative Joanna E. McClinton
To: All House members
Subject: Census Counting to use Residential Address of Prison Inmates
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation that will require incarcerated individuals to be counted in census reports as residents of their home addresses.

The U.S. Census counts incarcerated people as residents of the prison location. When state and local government bodies use Census counts to draw legislative districts, they unintentionally enhance the weight of a vote cast in districts that contain prisons at the expense of all other districts in the state. Seeking to remedy that situation, this legislation would allow Pennsylvania to collect the home addresses of incarcerated people and correct the data state-wide.

I believe our Commonwealth needs to take a much-needed step forward to ensure fairness in redistricting and reflect incarcerated populations in a more accurate way. This legislation mirrors the common-sense approach used by the state of Maryland which better calculates districts by counting prisoners in their actual home towns instead of their temporary prison cells.
In 2010, Maryland enacted legislation to become the first state in the nation to end the distortions that are caused by counting incarcerated persons in the wrong place.

It is important to note that this legislation only applies to redistricting and does not affect funds appropriated to Pennsylvania by the federal government due to population increases or decreases due to the federal census count.

Please join me in supporting this measure by co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1093