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PRINTER'S NO. 378
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
402
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY DALEY, FREEMAN, SCHLOSSBERG, McNEILL, McCLINTON,
DeLUCA, ULLMAN, HILL-EVANS, CIRESI, OTTEN AND SAPPEY,
FEBRUARY 6, 2019
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON STATE GOVERNMENT, FEBRUARY 6, 2019
AN ACT
Providing for congressional and legislative redistricting.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Section 1. Short title.
Section 2. Scope of act.
Section 3. Definitions.
Section 4. Redistricting.
Section 5. Redistricting authority.
Section 6. Commission.
Section 7. Standards for redistricting.
Section 8. Citizen plans.
Section 9. Public information and communications.
Section 10. Public comment.
Section 11. Appeals.
Section 12. Advertising.
Section 13. Prohibited activities.
Section 14. Penalties.
Section 15. Severability.
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Section 16. Effective date.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Short title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Redistricting
Standards and Transparency Act.
Section 2. Scope of act.
The standards, practices, standards of deviation and other
redistricting requirements under this act shall apply to the
redrawing of the following:
(1) Congressional districts.
(2) Districts of the Senate of the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania.
(3) All other districts created for the purpose of
electing or appointing an individual for Statewide elected
office.
Section 3. 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:
"Census." The Federal decennial census.
"Commission." The Legislative Reapportionment Commission
established under section 17 of Article II of the Constitution
of Pennsylvania. The term includes members and staff of the
commission unless the context of the provision indicates
otherwise.
"District." A congressional, State Senate or State House of
Representatives district in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
"Election district." A district, division or precinct
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established by the act of June 3, 1937 (P.L.1333, No.320), known
as the Pennsylvania Election Code, within which all qualified
electors vote at one polling place.
"House of Representatives." The House of Representatives of
the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
"Ideal population." The population of this Commonwealth, as
determined in the most recent census, divided by the number of
districts to be established.
"Municipality." A county, city, township or borough of the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
"Redistricting." The process of redrawing boundaries of the:
(1) legislative districts of the Senate and House of
Representatives by the commission; and
(2) Pennsylvania congressional districts by the
Pennsylvania General Assembly.
"Secretary." The Secretary of the Commonwealth.
"Senate." The Senate of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
"Supreme Court." The Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Section 4. Redistricting.
(a) General rule.--Unless otherwise directed by court order,
redistricting shall be permitted only once in the decade
following the census.
(b) Prohibited considerations.--Districts shall not be drawn
for purposes of favoring or discriminating against an incumbent,
political candidate or political party.
(c) Prohibited use of information.--Information regarding
the location of residences of an individual shall not be used in
designing a redistricting plan.
Section 5. Redistricting authority.
(a) Districts of the General Assembly.--Under section 17 of
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Article II of the Constitution of Pennsylvania, in each year
following the census, the Legislative Reapportionment Commission
shall be constituted to redraw the district boundaries of the
Senate and House of Representatives.
(b) Congressional districts.--In each year following the
census, the General Assembly shall redraw the congressional
districts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania based on the
number of districts allocated to the Commonwealth by the Federal
Government.
(c) Appeals from final orders.--
(1) Under section 17(d) of Article II of the
Constitution of Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court shall have
original jurisdiction for hearing appeals of final
redistricting plans approved by the commission.
(2) The Commonwealth Court shall have original
jurisdiction for hearing appeals of final congressional
redistricting plans approved by the General Assembly.
Section 6. Commission.
(a) General rule.--The commission shall be created and
operate in accordance with section 17 of Article II of the
Constitution of Pennsylvania.
(b) Commission chairperson.--
(1) Prior to appointing a fifth person to serve as
chairperson under section 17(b) of Article II of the
Constitution of Pennsylvania, the secretary shall solicit
applicants for the position by advertising for applicants in
the newspaper of largest circulation in each county, in the
Pennsylvania Bulletin and on the publicly accessible Internet
websites of the Senate, the House of Representatives and the
commission.
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(2) The commission chairperson shall:
(i) Be an eligible elector of this Commonwealth and
have been an inhabitant of this Commonwealth for at least
10 years at the time of appointment.
(ii) Not have served in an elective or appointive
government position for the past 10 years.
(iii) Not have served in or worked for a political
party entity for the past 10 years.
(iv) Not have served in an elective State, county or
municipal office for the past 10 years.
(v) Not have served on a State, county or municipal
authority for the past 10 years.
(vi) Not have served as a registered lobbyist in
this Commonwealth at any time during the past 10 years.
(vii) Not have contributed to political campaigns in
excess of $2,000 in any of the past 10 years.
(viii) Have demonstrated skills in negotiating and
mediation.
(ix) Have demonstrated skills in map reading,
mathematics and demographic analysis.
(3) The provisions of 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 11 (relating to
ethics standards and financial disclosure), known as the
Public Official and Employee Ethics Act, shall apply to the
commission chairperson, who shall complete and file a
financial disclosure report prior to taking office and one
year after leaving office.
(c) Deputy.--If a constitutionally designated member of the
commission appoints a deputy to serve on the commission, the
deputy must meet the requirements for the commission chairperson
under subsection (b)(2).
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Section 7. Standards for redistricting.
(a) General rules.--
(1) Each district shall be composed of contiguous and
whole election districts. Districts that meet only the points
of adjoining corners are not contiguous.
(2) The commission shall determine an order of
importance for the criteria and standards established under
this section for the creation of plans.
(3) The commission shall hold public hearings regarding
the creation of new legislative maps, after which the
commission shall make public the order established under
paragraph (2).
(b) Population equality.--The population of a district shall
not differ from the ideal population for that district by more
than:
(1) One percent for a congressional district;
(2) Two percent for a Senate district; or
(3) Three percent for a House of Representatives
district.
(c) Integrity of district boundaries.--
(1) No municipality or ward may be split unless
necessary to satisfy subsection (b).
(2) No county with a population of less than the ideal
population may be split more than once, nor may the county
have more than one other split municipality or ward.
(3) Each county with a population of more than the ideal
population may be allocated the number of whole districts
resulting from dividing the population of that county by the
ideal population. The remainder of the division shall be a
fractional district, which may be split at most once and
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become part of one or two districts extending outside of the
county. Each of the whole districts entirely within the
county and the fractional district may also include one other
split municipality or ward.
(d) Compactness.--The commission shall adopt a compactness
measurement, which shall be utilized for determining compactness
of all State congressional, Senate and House of Representatives
legislative districts. The standards established in subsections
(a), (b) and (c) shall take precedence over compactness where a
conflict arises between compactness and those standards.
(e) Other criteria.--The commission shall adopt racial
equity and communities of interest as necessary criteria to help
ensure the opportunity of elected representation reflective of
the demographics of this Commonwealth.
Section 8. Citizen plans.
(a) General rule.--
(1) A resident of this Commonwealth may submit to the
commission a redistricting plan for any or all districts of
the General Assembly.
(2) A submission under paragraph (1) shall consist of a
plan and a commentary on important features.
(3) A plan submitted under paragraph (1) may be
considered by the commission while developing a preliminary
and final plan if the submitted plan complies with the
standards under section 7.
(4) If a citizen-generated plan has utilized all the
criteria standards and the plan produced by the commission
has not utilized all the criteria under section 7, the
commission must either accept the submitted plan or provide a
written explanation for why the commission will not use the
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submitted plan.
(b) Submission of citizen-generated plans.--
(1) A resident of this Commonwealth may submit a
congressional redistricting plan to the President Pro Tempore
of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
(2) Congressional redistricting plans submitted under
paragraph (1) by citizens may be considered by the State
Government Committee of the Senate and the State Government
Committee of the House of Representatives if the plans comply
with the standards under section 7. If a citizen-generated
plan has utilized all the criteria standards and the plan
produced by the commission has not utilized all the criteria
required under section 7, the commission must either accept
the submitted plan or provide a written explanation for why
the commission will not use the submitted plan.
(c) Public information.--The commission and the General
Assembly shall make all citizen-generated maps and associated
commentaries submitted under this section available on the
commission's publicly accessible Internet website.
Section 9. Public information and communications.
(a) General rule.--In all proceedings related to the
redistricting process, the commission and the General Assembly
shall comply with 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.
(b) Publicly disclosed deviations.--The commission and the
General Assembly shall accompany any redistricting plan that
deviates from any of the standards under section 7 with a
specific explanation describing why the deviation is necessary.
(c) Public comments.--
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(1) The commission shall develop a system for receiving
written comments from the public, including all electronic
mail formats. The commission shall review all submitted
comments and consider the comments equally to the testimony
of those who have appeared before the commission.
(2) For congressional redistricting, the President Pro
Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of
Representatives shall develop a system for receiving written
comments from the public, including all electronic mail
formats. This information shall be reviewed by the Majority
Leader and Minority Leader of the Senate and the Majority
Leader and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives,
who shall consider the comments equally to the testimony of
those who have appeared before the State Government Committee
of the Senate and the State Government Committee of the House
of Representatives.
(d) Public websites.--
(1) The commission, regarding redistricting plans for
the General Assembly, and the President pro tempore of the
Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives,
regarding congressional redistricting plans, shall develop
publicly accessible Internet websites for disseminating
information received or developed during redistricting plan
development. The information shall be posted within 48 hours
of being received or developed. The disclosed information
shall include, but not be limited to:
(i) Data to be used in drafting a redistricting
plan, a preliminary plan or a revised plan.
(ii) Access to software that can be used to prepare
citizen plans.
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(iii) Plans submitted by citizens in accordance with
section 8 that comply with standards under section 7.
(iv) Notice of meetings and public hearings.
(v) Transcripts of testimony presented at public
meetings.
(vi) Any written testimony.
(vii) All written communications between the
commission or the General Assembly and other persons
concerning any redistricting plan.
(viii) The preliminary and final plans.
(ix) A detailed explanation of the differences
between the preliminary and final plan.
(2) The Governor, the President pro tempore of the
Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the
commission may develop a joint publicly accessible Internet
website upon which all required public information and
submissions shall be posted.
Section 10. Public comment.
(a) Public hearings for the commission.--
(1) Sixty days prior to filing a preliminary plan with
the secretary in accordance with the timetable under section
17 of Article II of the Constitution of Pennsylvania, the
commission shall hold public hearings in at least five
different geographic areas of this Commonwealth to solicit
public input on expectations relevant to redistricting.
(2) During the time period under paragraph (1), the
commission shall accept written comment from the public,
including citizens' redistricting plans.
(3) After filing the preliminary plan, the commission
shall hold at least five public hearings in different
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geographic areas of this Commonwealth to gather comment on
the preliminary plan and accept written public comment.
(b) Public hearings for the General Assembly.--
(1) No later than 90 days after receiving the population
data for this Commonwealth as determined by the census, the
State Government Committee of the Senate and the State
Government Committee of the House of Representatives shall
each file a congressional redistricting bill.
(2) Sixty days prior to filing a congressional
redistricting bill under paragraph (1), the State Government
Committee of the Senate and the State Government Committee of
the House of Representatives shall hold public hearings in at
least five different geographic areas of this Commonwealth to
solicit public input on expectations relevant to
redistricting.
(3) During the time period under paragraph (2), the
President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the
House of Representatives shall accept written comments from
the public, including citizens' redistricting plans. All
communications between the Governor and members of the
General Assembly regarding redistricting shall be posted on
the General Assembly's publicly accessible Internet website.
(c) Veto.--If the Governor vetoes a redistricting plan
approved by the General Assembly, the Governor shall return the
bill with an explanation of the veto. The General Assembly shall
have 30 days to pass a revised bill and send it to the Governor
to sign into law. The Commonwealth Court shall develop a
congressional district plan if the Governor vetoes the revised
plan.
Section 11. Appeals.
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(a) General rule.--A citizen of the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania has standing to file suit to redress violations of
this act.
(b) Public information.--All official documents relating to
an appeal of a final plan shall be posted on the appropriate
publicly accessible Internet website developed under section
9(d).
Section 12. Advertising.
(a) Advertisement of commission's final plan.--The
commission's final redistricting plan shall be advertised as
prescribed under section 17(i) of Article II of the Constitution
of Pennsylvania.
(b) Publication of commission plans.--The commission's
preliminary and final plans shall be posted on the commission's
publicly accessible Internet website in various formats. The
website shall include how:
(1) District boundaries of the proposed and final plans
overlay with the county and municipal boundaries.
(2) Proposed and final plans compare with existing and
prior plans approved by the commission.
(3) Districts comply with all standards required under
section 7.
(c) Advertisement of congressional plan.--The enacted
congressional redistricting plan shall be advertised in the
newspaper with the largest circulation in each county and posted
on the publicly accessible Internet websites of the Governor,
the Senate, the House of Representatives and the commission, or
on a joint website developed under section 9(d)(2) in various
formats. The websites shall demonstrate how:
(1) District boundaries of the enacted plan overlay with
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the county and municipal boundaries.
(2) The enacted plan compared with existing and prior
plans enacted by the General Assembly.
(3) Districts comply with all standards required under
section 7.
Section 13. Prohibited activities.
(a) General rule.--No individual shall attempt to influence
the commission except through testimony at a public hearing or
by written document submitted to the commission. The commission
may check references to verify the qualifications of individuals
being considered to serve as the commission's chair. This
subsection shall not apply to the deliberations among commission
members if any of the members are also members of the General
Assembly.
(b) Selecting commission chairperson.--No person, except a
member of the Supreme Court or the Supreme Court's staff, shall
attempt to influence the Supreme Court's selection process if
the Supreme Court is called upon to select a fifth member to the
commission under section 17 of Article II of the Constitution of
Pennsylvania. The Supreme Court may check references to verify
the qualifications of individuals being considered to serve as
the commission's chairperson.
Section 14. Penalties.
The following penalties shall apply:
(1) A violation of section 6(b) shall result in the
immediate removal of the commission chair.
(2) A violation of section 7 shall be grounds for
declaring the map unconstitutional.
(3) A violation of section 9, 10 or 12 shall result in
an appropriate penalty as prescribed under 65 Pa.C.S. § 714
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(relating to penalty) and section 1305 of the act of February
14, 2008 (P.L.6, No.3), known as the Right-to-Know Law.
(4) A violation of section 13 shall result in
appropriate penalties as prescribed under 65 Pa.C.S. §
13A07(f) (relating to prohibited activities) and, if
committed by an elected or appointed public official, shall
be grounds for removal from office.
Section 15. Severability.
The provisions of this act are severable. If any provision of
this act or its application to any person or circumstance is
held invalid, the invalidity shall not affect other provisions
or applications of this act which can be given effect without
the invalid provision or application.
Section 16. Effective date.
This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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