|Posted:||February 22, 2019 05:21 PM|
|From:||Representative Steve Samuelson and Rep. Thomas P. Murt|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Redistricting Reform: Independent Redistricting Commission for Congressional Districts (House Bill 23)|
|In the near future, we will introduce legislation to reform the process by which Pennsylvania conducts the decennial redistricting of congressional and state legislative districts.
This legislation is similar in many ways to HB 722 from the 2017-18 session, which was co-sponsored by more than half of all House members. House Bill 23 would amend state elections law to create an 11-member Independent Redistricting Commission to redraw congressional district lines. The new Commission would replace the current process by which legislative leaders propose a congressional redistricting plan that is then presented to the General Assembly for approval.
The new Independent Redistricting Commission would consist of a randomly selected group of voters from both major political parties, plus independents and third-party members. Commission members and their spouses could not have been lobbyists, political operatives or Federal or state employees within five years prior to their appointment to the Commission.
Our bill also includes requirements to ensure transparency in the redistricting process for both congressional and legislative districts, and clear standards for the Commission to follow in drawing district lines in a fair manner.
We will also be introducing a companion bill (HB 22) which includes many of the same provisions, but as an amendment to the PA Constitution. Because the constitutional amendment process takes several years to complete, we are introducing HB 23 as a vehicle to enact an Independent Redistricting Commission first for congressional redistricting, with the expectation that the same commission would also take over redistricting of state House and Senate districts once the voters have approved the constitutional amendment (HB 22). Both bills have been endorsed by Fair Districts PA, a non-partisan coalition of advocacy groups seeking to end gerrymandering in Pennsylvania.
Please join us in cosponsoring this comprehensive redistricting reform legislation.