On February 16 PA State Senators Lisa Boscola (D-18, Lehigh/Northampton) and Mario Scavello (R-40, Monroe/Northampton) introduced bipartisan legislation that would establish an independent commission to draw up Pennsylvania’s congressional and state legislative district maps.
The bill would amend the state constitution to establish an 11-member independent commission with four individuals registered with the largest political party in Pennsylvania, four registered with the second-largest party, and three people not affiliated with either major political party. Commission members would not be allowed to hold political or party office, be related to those who hold office, or work for those who hold office.
A majority vote of seven would be required for a plan to win approval.
In their press release, (available here) Senator Boscola said:
We need an independent system where voters select their leaders, not the other way around. The current process invites gerrymandering, robs citizens of competitive races and spurs the kind of partisan polarization that has stymied legislative work in both Washington, D.C. and Harrisburg.
Senator Scavello affirmed the need for both parties to work toward this essential reform: “It is important that legislators on both sides of the aisle uphold a system of voting districts that best represents our citizens and the regions in which they live.”
The bill will be posted soon on the PA Legislature website.
Senator Boscola has created a page on her website to track progress and to provide a link to the co-sponsorship memorandum.
Tools for contacting your state senator as well as for finding out whether your senator has co-sponsored are available on our Contact Your Legislator page.