GOP Guts Bill Proposing Independent Redistricting Commission

KEYSTONE CROSSROADS — The Pennsylvania legislature would get more control over how state legislative boundary lines are drawn under an amended bill that passed out of the House Government Committee along party lines Wednesday. The original bill removed lawmakers from the process in favor of an independent citizens’ commission. State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, says lawmakers are the most accountable of anyone who might be tasked with legislative reapportionment. “The best way to make sure we have citizens actually being the ones redrawing, citizens who are held accountable to their fellow citizens who elect them to office, and are not just going to go away after the work is done, and be held accountable in the future for their decisions, is to totally gut and replace this bill,” said Metcalfe, committee chairman. Metcalfe’s amendment completely changed House Bill 722 from its original intent.

Timeline: The Battle Over Pennsylvania’s Congressional District Map

KEYSTONE CROSSROADS – Pennsylvania’s congressional map has been recognized nationally as having some of the starkest examples of gerrymandering in the country, prompting both a state and a federal lawsuit in 2017. A three-judge panel in the federal case upheld the map as drawn by Republicans in 2011. The state case compelled the Democratic-majority Pa. Supreme Court to strike it down as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. This ruling seems likely to alter the partisan tilt of the state’s congressional delegation, which has held a steady 13-5 Republican advantage.