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PRINTER'S NO. 1383
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
23
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY SAMUELSON, MURT, DeLISSIO, BARRAR, BERNSTINE,
BRIGGS, BULLOCK, BURGOS, CALTAGIRONE, CEPHAS, CIRESI,
COMITTA, CONKLIN, CRUZ, DALEY, T. DAVIS, DAWKINS, DEASY,
DeLUCA, DiGIROLAMO, DONATUCCI, DRISCOLL, FIEDLER, FITZGERALD,
FRANKEL, FREEMAN, GAINEY, GALLOWAY, GILLEN, GOODMAN,
HANBIDGE, HARKINS, HILL-EVANS, HOHENSTEIN, HOWARD,
INNAMORATO, IRVIN, ISAACSON, JOHNSON-HARRELL, KENYATTA, KIM,
KINSEY, KIRKLAND, KOSIEROWSKI, KRUEGER, LEE, LEWIS, MADDEN,
MALAGARI, MARKOSEK, MATZIE, McCARTER, McNEILL, MEHAFFIE,
MERSKI, D. MILLER, MULLERY, MULLINS, NEILSON, O'MARA, OTTEN,
PASHINSKI, QUINN, RABB, RAVENSTAHL, READSHAW, ROEBUCK, ROZZI,
SANCHEZ, SAPPEY, SCHLOSSBERG, SCHWEYER, SHUSTERMAN, SIMMONS,
SIMS, SNYDER, SOLOMON, STURLA, ULLMAN, VITALI, WARREN,
WEBSTER, WILLIAMS, ZABEL AND BROWN, APRIL 11, 2019
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON STATE GOVERNMENT, APRIL 11, 2019
AN ACT
Establishing the Independent Redistricting Commission; and
providing for congressional and legislative redistricting.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1. Preliminary Provisions
Section 101. Short title.
Section 102. Definitions.
Chapter 3. Independent Redistricting Commission
Section 301. Establishment of commission and appointment of
members.
Section 302. Redistricting process.
Section 303. Standing.
Section 304. Staffing.
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Section 305. Commission expiration and effect of plan.
Section 306. Funding.
Chapter 5. Congressional and Legislative Redistricting Plans
Section 501. Prohibited criteria.
Section 502. Redistricting criteria.
Chapter 7. Legislative Reapportionment Commission
Section 701. Redistricting process.
Chapter 21. Miscellaneous Provisions
Section 2101. Effective date.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
CHAPTER 1
PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS
Section 101. Short title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Congressional
and Legislative Redistricting Act.
Section 102. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Commission." The Independent Redistricting Commission
established under section 301.
"Commissioner" or "member." A member of the commission.
"Congressional redistricting plan." A redistricting plan for
congressional districts drawn under the requirements of this
act.
"Federal census." The decennial census required by Federal
law to be conducted by the United States Bureau of the Census in
every year ending in zero.
"Immediate family." A parent, spouse, child, brother or
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sister.
"Legislative district." The term includes senatorial
districts and representative districts.
"Legislative Reapportionment Commission." The entity
authorized by the Constitution of Pennsylvania to adopt a
legislative redistricting plan.
"Legislative redistricting plan." A plan adopted pursuant to
Article II of the Constitution of Pennsylvania and this act. The
term includes a reapportionment plan.
"Plan" or "redistricting plan." A congressional
redistricting plan or legislative redistricting plan drawn under
the requirements of this act, including one or more maps
depicting district boundaries.
"Secretary." The Secretary of the Commonwealth.
CHAPTER 3
INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING COMMISSION
Section 301. Establishment of commission and appointment of
members.
(a) Commission creation.--In each year following the year of
the Federal decennial census, an Independent Redistricting
Commission shall be constituted for the purpose of redistricting
the Commonwealth. The commission shall:
(1) Conduct an open and transparent process enabling
full public consideration of and comment on the drawing of
district lines.
(2) Draw district lines according to the redistricting
criteria specified in this act.
(3) Conduct itself with integrity and fairness.
(b) Commission membership.--The commission shall consist of
the following members:
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(1) four voters who are registered with the largest
political party in this Commonwealth based on registration;
(2) four voters who are registered with the second
largest political party in this Commonwealth based on
registration; and
(3) three voters who are not registered with either of
the two largest political parties in this Commonwealth based
on registration.
(c) Qualifications.--Each member shall possess all of the
following qualifications:
(1) Be a voter who has been continuously registered in
this Commonwealth with the same political party or who has
been continually unaffiliated with a political party or
political body for the three years immediately preceding the
date of appointment to the commission.
(2) Has voted in two of the last three Statewide general
elections immediately preceding the date of appointment to
the commission.
(3) Has not held nor has a spouse who has held any other
public office or paid position at the Federal or State level
in this Commonwealth in the five years immediately preceding
the date of appointment to the commission.
(4) Has not registered nor has a spouse who has
registered as a Federal or State lobbyist in this
Commonwealth in the five years immediately preceding the date
of appointment to the commission.
(5) Has not been nominated nor has a spouse who has been
nominated as a candidate for elective office in this
Commonwealth by a political party or political body or served
nor has a spouse who has served as a staff member or officer
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of a political party, political body, political committee or
political action committee in this Commonwealth in the five
years immediately preceding the date of appointment to the
commission.
(d) Application and selection.--Application and selection of
members shall be subject to the following:
(1) Application to serve as a member may be filed with,
and on a form developed by, the secretary indicating thereon
evidence of the applicant'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 select, on a random basis, 40
qualified applicants from each of the three subpools provided
in 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.
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(5) After the legislative leaders have exercised their
strikes under paragraph (4), the secretary shall select for
appointment as members on a random basis from the remaining
applicants in each of the three subpools of qualified
applicants. In addition to the qualification requirements
provided in subsection (c), appointments shall reasonably
reflect the racial, geographic and gender diversity of this
Commonwealth.
(6) One of the members shall be selected as chair by a
vote of at least six members of the commission.
(e) Term.--The term of office of each member shall expire at
the time the commission expires as provided in section 305.
(f) Removal.--Removal of a member and vacancies on the
commission shall be subject to the following:
(1) If a member 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 death of an immediate
family member, personal illness or illness of an immediate
family member.
(2) If a member has been convicted, found guilty or pled
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.
(3) A vacancy in 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 those remaining
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applicants are available for service, the secretary shall
fill the vacancy from a new pool of applicants created from
the same voter registration category as the vacating member.
(g) Member ineligibility.--A member shall be ineligible to
do the following for a period of three years beginning from the
expiration of the term for which the member was appointed to the
commission:
(1) Serve as a paid staff member or paid consultant to
Congress, the General Assembly or staff appointed by the
Governor.
(2) Register as a Federal or State lobbyist in this
Commonwealth.
(3) Serve as a paid staff member or paid political
consultant for a political party, political body, political
committee or political action committee in this Commonwealth.
(h) Member and spouse ineligibility.--A member and the
member's spouse shall be ineligible to do the following for a
period of five years beginning from the expiration of the term
for which the member was appointed to the commission:
(1) Hold an appointed position or elective public office
at the Federal or State level in this Commonwealth.
(2) Be eligible for nomination as a candidate for
elective office by a political party or political body in
this Commonwealth.
(3) Hold office for a political party, political body,
political committee or political action committee in this
Commonwealth.
(i) Quorum and voting.--Seven members shall constitute a
quorum. Seven or more affirmative votes shall be required for
any official action. The final redistricting plan must be
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approved by at least seven affirmative votes that must include
at least two votes of members registered with each of the two
largest political parties in this Commonwealth based on
registration and two votes of members who are not registered
with either of the two largest political parties.
Section 302. Redistricting process.
(a) Initial preparation.--To begin the process of preparing
information necessary to the redistricting process, the
commission shall:
(1) Acquire all necessary and appropriate information,
review and evaluate available facilities and develop programs
and procedures, that may include the use of software, in
preparation for drawing redistricting plans on the basis of
each Federal census. The commission shall make the
information available to the public.
(2) Obtain from the United States Census Bureau the
population data needed for redistricting that the Census
Bureau is required to provide the Commonwealth under 13
U.S.C. § 141 (relating to population and other census
information) and use that data to assign a population figure
based upon census data to each geographic and political unit
described pursuant to subparagraph (i). Upon completion of
that task, the commission shall begin the preparation of a
redistricting plan or plans as required by this act. The
commission shall use the data obtained to prepare:
(i) Necessary descriptions of census blocks, voting
districts, wards, municipalities and counties for which
census data will be reported and that are suitable for
use as components of districts.
(ii) Maps of census blocks, voting districts, wards,
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municipalities and counties within this Commonwealth,
that may be used to illustrate the locations of district
boundaries proposed in plans.
(b) Transparency.--
(1) All commission hearings, and all commission meetings
that are attended or participated in by a quorum of the
members held for the purpose of deliberating official
business or taking official action, shall be open to the
public.
(2) Members and their employees and advisors shall not
communicate with or receive communications from any other
person about redistricting matters unless during an open
public meeting or under circumstances where the communication
is shared contemporaneously with all members and entered into
the public record.
(c) Initial hearings.--Prior to the deadline for approval of
a preliminary plan as set forth in subsection (d)(1), the
commission shall schedule and conduct at least four public
hearings in different regions of this Commonwealth.
(d) Preliminary and final redistricting plans.--
(1) Not later than July 1 of each year ending in one,
the commission shall complete and approve a preliminary
redistricting plan as required under this section and make
the preliminary plan available to the public.
(2) The commission, within 30 days following the
deadline for approval of a preliminary plan as provided in
paragraph (1), shall schedule and conduct at least four
public hearings, in different geographic regions of this
Commonwealth, on the preliminary plan.
(3) Not later than August 15 of each year ending in one,
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the commission shall approve a final redistricting plan. Upon
approval, the commission shall certify the resulting plan to
the secretary, and that plan shall constitute the certified
final plan.
(4) If the commission fails to approve a final plan in
accordance with paragraph (3), the following shall apply:
(i) Not later than September 1 of each year ending
in one, the commission shall complete and approve a
second preliminary redistricting plan prepared in
accordance with subsections (a) and (b) and make the
second preliminary plan available to the public.
(ii) Within 30 days following the deadline for
approval of a second preliminary plan as set forth in
subparagraph (i), the commission shall schedule and
conduct at least four public hearings, in different
geographic regions of this Commonwealth, on the second
preliminary plan.
(iii) Not later than November 1 of each year ending
in one, the commission shall approve a final
redistricting plan. Upon approval, the commission shall
certify the plan to the secretary, and that plan shall
constitute the certified final plan.
(e) Failure to approve plan.--If the commission does not
complete and approve a final redistricting plan by November 1 of
each year ending in one, the following shall apply:
(1) Each commissioner or group of commissioners may
propose one plan that may include one or more maps depicting
the districts included in the plan. Each proposed plan shall
be accompanied by a written report that demonstrates the
plan's compliance with all applicable Federal and State laws,
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including redistricting criteria.
(2) All proposed plans and supporting written reports
shall be made available for public review and comment for a
period of 10 days.
(3) After the close of the public comment period, the
commission shall vote on all proposed plans as follows:
(i) Each commissioner shall rank the plans submitted
according to preference, with each plan being assigned a
point value inverse to the plan's ranking among the
number of choices, giving the lowest ranked plan one
point and the highest ranked plan a point value equal to
the number of plans submitted.
(ii) The plan or plans receiving the lowest combined
ranking shall be eliminated.
(iii) The commission shall repeat the process until
only one plan remains.
(4) Upon approval of a plan under this subsection, the
commission shall certify the plan to the secretary, and that
plan shall constitute the certified final plan.
(5) If a final redistricting plan is not filed by the
commission by December 15 of each year ending in one, unless
the time be extended by the Supreme Court for cause shown,
the Supreme Court shall immediately proceed on its own motion
to approve a plan. The Supreme Court shall certify the plan
to the secretary, and that plan shall constitute the
certified final plan.
Section 303. Standing.
The commission has the sole legal standing to defend an
action regarding a certified final plan and shall inform the
General Assembly if the commission determines that funds or
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other resources provided for the operation of the commission are
not adequate.
Section 304. Staffing.
The Department of State shall provide staff as needed to
support the commission in the performance of the commission's
duties.
Section 305. Commission expiration and effect of plan.
Upon the filing of all redistricting plans required under
this chapter and the exhaustion of all appeals of a
redistricting plan:
(1) the commission shall expire and the commission's
responsibilities shall terminate; and
(2) the final plan shall have the force of law and the
districts provided in the plan shall be used thereafter in
elections until the next redistricting as required under this
act.
Section 306. Funding.
The General Assembly shall appropriate sufficient funds for
the compensation and expenses of members and staff appointed by
the commission and for other necessary expenses. In addition to
necessary expenses, the members shall receive a per diem for
each day or part of a day spent performing their official
duties. The per diem shall be the most recent per diem rate for
locations in this Commonwealth as established and published by
the United States General Services Administration.
CHAPTER 5
CONGRESSIONAL AND LEGISLATIVE REDISTRICTING PLANS
Section 501. Prohibited criteria.
(a) Political discrimination.--A redistricting plan shall
not purposefully or unduly favor or disfavor any incumbent
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elected official, candidate or prospective candidate for
elective office. A redistricting plan on a Statewide basis shall
not purposefully or unduly favor or disfavor any political
party.
(b) Voter information.--Except as necessary to comply with
subsection (a), a redistricting plan shall not include
consideration of the following data:
(1) Addresses of any individual.
(2) Political affiliation of registered voters.
(3) Previous election results, unless required by
Federal law.
Section 502. Redistricting criteria.
In addition to the requirements of section 501 and Federal
law, the following shall apply to the drawing of district lines:
(1) Districts shall each have a population within the
maximum population deviation permissible.
(2) Districts shall provide racial minorities an equal
opportunity to participate in the political process and may
not dilute or diminish their ability to elect candidates of
choice whether alone or in coalition with others.
(3) Districts shall be composed of compact and
contiguous territory and, unless absolutely necessary, no
county, city, incorporated town, borough, township or ward
shall be divided. A redistricting plan shall include a
written explanation for each division.
(4) A county may not contain more senatorial districts
than the number required by the population plus one.
(5) A county may not contain more representative
districts than the number required by the population plus
two.
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(6) A county may not contain more congressional
districts than the number required by the population plus
one.
CHAPTER 7
LEGISLATIVE REAPPORTIONMENT COMMISSION
Section 701. Redistricting process.
(a) Initial preparation.--To begin the process of preparing
information necessary to the redistricting process, the
Legislative Reapportionment Commission shall:
(1) Acquire all necessary and appropriate information,
review and evaluate available facilities and develop programs
and procedures, that may include the use of software, in
preparation for drawing legislative redistricting plans on
the basis of each Federal census. The commission shall make
the information available to the public.
(2) Obtain from the United States Census Bureau the
population data needed for redistricting that the Census
Bureau is required to provide the Commonwealth under 13
U.S.C. § 141 (relating to population and other census
information) and use that data to assign a population figure
based upon census data to each geographic and political unit
described pursuant to subparagraph (i). Upon completion of
that task, the commission shall begin the preparation of a
legislative redistricting plan or plans as required by this
act. The commission shall use the data obtained to prepare:
(i) Necessary descriptions of census blocks, voting
districts, wards, municipalities and counties for which
census data will be reported and that are suitable for
use as components of districts.
(ii) Maps of census blocks, voting districts, wards,
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municipalities and counties within this Commonwealth,
that may be used to illustrate the locations of district
boundaries proposed in plans.
(b) Transparency.--All hearings, and all meetings that are
attended or participated in by a quorum of the members of the
Legislative Reapportionment Commission held for the purpose of
deliberating official business or taking official action, shall
be open to the public.
(c) Hearings and approval of final plan.--
(1) Prior to the date that a preliminary plan is filed
with the secretary, the Legislative Reapportionment
Commission shall schedule and conduct at least four public
hearings in different regions of this Commonwealth.
(2) No later than 15 days after any person aggrieved by
the preliminary plan files timely exceptions to the plan, the
Legislative Reapportionment Commission shall schedule and
conduct at least two public hearings to hear testimony
regarding such exceptions.
(3) After the conclusion of the hearings required by
paragraph (2), the Legislative Reapportionment Commission
shall approve a final plan at a public meeting upon not less
than seven days' prior notice to the public.
CHAPTER 21
MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
Section 2101. Effective date.
This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.
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