AFA of PA ACTION ALERT
August 9, 2019
How Independent Will It Really Be?
As you may remember the PA Supreme Court threw out our Congressional map in 2018. A little background: PA’s congressional map was passed in 2011 by a bipartisan vote of 136-61 in the House and had been used since 2012 in the last three congressional election cycles.
Former US Attorney General Eric Holder and his project National Democratic Redistricting Committee was behind the effort in PA, as well as other states with Democrat majorities in the Supreme Court.
In Pennsylvania our judges are elected as well as legislators, so PA voters have some recourse in response to the PA Supreme Court’s redrawing of our congressional map in 2018 in favor of the Democrats. However, there is an effort to change the way redistricting is done in PA and puts it into the hands of an unelected commission.
Here’s how it would work: Members of the Independent Redistricting Commission would consist of 4 voters from the largest political party in PA, 4 voters from the second largest political party and three voters who are not registered with either of the two largest political parties. The Secretary of State will create three subpools of qualified applicants representing each of the voter groups and randomly choose 40 from each of the three subpools. The Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the Senate and the House may each strike up to two applicants from each subpool. Once those deletions are made, the Secretary of State will randomly choose the members of the Independent Redistricting Commission. Although, the appointments “shall reasonable reflect the racial, geographic and gender diversity of this Commonwealth.” (Note: I wonder how they are defining “gender diversity”??)
The goal is to have an unelected (unaccountable), supposedly independent, commission redrawing the maps for congressional and legislative districts.
HB 22 is a constitutional amendment “proposing integrated amendments to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, deleting provisions relating to the Legislative Reapportionment Commission; and providing for the Independent Redistricting Commission.”
HB 23 is a bill that would more quickly make the changes and create the Independent Redistricting Commission, since a constitutional amendment must be passed in two consecutive legislative sessions before the people are given the opportunity to vote on it.
The vast majority of sponsors of the HB 22 and HB 23 are Democrats. Fair Districts PA is the group pushing the hardest to get these changes made. Taking a look at the endorsing organizations should send a chill up the spine of any conservative in Pennsylvania!
The House State Government Committee will hold a public hearing on redistricting at 9:00 a.m. on September 18th. In the meantime, let your State Representative know that these two bills — HB 22 and HB 23 — are not in the best interest of the voters of Pennsylvania.