PA House Speaker (R-Lancaster) Brian Cutler told Fox News that it “fails to meet clearly defined constitutional standards while also promoting partisan gerrymandering,"
House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Center) claimed it is “a danger to our system of government.”
Rob Mercuri (R-Allegheny) commented in an editorial that “Decades of constitutional redistricting precedent was thrown out the window.”
What has these legislators so riled up is the latest version of the new PA House maps that came out of the bipartisan Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission last week.
Just to be clear, the new House map still favors Republicans – just not to the extent that they have been used to. But what about the claim to constitutionality?
The Pennsylvania constitution states that districts should be evenly divided into compact (constituents should live as close together as possible) and contiguous (You can traverse the entire district without crossing the district’s boundaries)
Taking a look at the house maps below that were drawn in the last redistricting, it is impossible to believe that the overall map would have passed constitutional muster, but when you have a Republican Governor, legislature, and Supreme Court, objectivity has a pretty low priority.
The new legislative map is a vast improvement. Rep. Mercuri’s comments are therefore partially correct. The proposed map throws out redistricting precedent, but not constitutional precedent. Rep. Benninghoff is correct if one equates “a danger to our system of government” with the current gerrymandered districts. Finally Brian Cutler is totally wrong. Natural boundaries and demographics are always going to clash in attempting to create the perfect map, but this proposed map is far superior to its immediate predecessor.
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO?
You can submit your own comments about this process here.
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO?
Next year, we will be electing a new Governor, a Senator, a State Supreme Court Justice, a new Congress, and a new state legislature. Voter registration is paramount right now, and school districts are the perfect place to begin to register new voters. You can advocate for a voter education and registration policy in your district by speaking at school board meetings or by writing emails to board members. Please email me If you live outside of Philadelphia and need more information about how to make this happen. If you live in the city, you can very easily write to the Board, City Council, and the Mayor’s Chief Education Officer.
AFSCME DC 47 has created a web page that makes this process painless.
2. enter your name, address, email;
3. click on START WRITING;
4. you will be carried to a second page where you can modify the letter, and sign your name; and
5. when you are through, simply click on SEND LETTER.