Legislature begins to grapple with Congressional redistribution, as many warn of political gerrymandering – CBS Pittsburgh
HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA) – The state legislature is holding hearings this week on how best to draw congressional district boundaries.
Public attention has increased on what has often been an overwhelmingly partisan act of mapping. After the census every ten years, each state redraws its congressional districts to make them uniform in population.
READ MORE: West Virginia man convicted of organizing shoplifting ring to steal thousands of dollars in merchandise
But this often led to a creative card design designed to only elect members of a political party. This year, many groups are saying no to political gerrymandering.
In Harrisburg on Thursday, David Thornburgh, son of the late governor, told lawmakers Pennsylvania needs a fair and transparent process for drawing state districts unlike the one Republicans used 10 years ago.
“The districts that were drawn in 2011 were overwhelmingly gerrymandered, and there was no public process or input,” Thornburgh, chair of the Committee of the Seventy in Philadelphia, told the KDKA political editor, Jon Delano.
Remember the 2011 Congress card? It contained some of the craziest neighborhoods in the country, including one stretching from the Ohio border to Johnstown.
It was so bad that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court imposed its own map that removed all wavy lines, uniting counties and municipalities that had been divided.
READ MORE: State leaders urge Pennsylvanians to invest child tax credit money
“I am optimistic, and it is in the spirit in which I participate in these hearings today, that things will be different this time around,” Thornburgh said.
“We have a situation right now in Pennsylvania where lawmakers are basically choosing their voters, rather than voters choosing their lawmakers,” said Maureen Grosheider, president of the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh.
This is why the League of Women Voters created Fair Districts PA, a statewide group that advocates for compact districts that are drawn without reviewing the registration of political parties or incumbents.
“Transparency and public participation,” said Bucks County Republican Rep. Wendi Thomas from Pennsylvania.
This year, Republican lawmakers, who control the state legislature, say they will be fair and transparent, adopting the recommendations proposed by Thomas in his bipartisan Bill 22, including, she said, “have a process. transparent, hold public meetings, allow entry, have a website where people can interact.
But expect a change this year. Pennsylvania loses one of its seats in the US House of Representatives.
NO MORE NEWS: Police: Soldiers find $ 1.8 million worth of fentanyl during traffic stop in Mercer County
And with a Democratic governor with veto power, the two sides will have to work together unless they want the court to draw the lines for them.