According to the Allentown Morning Call, some Pennsylvania state legislators are supporting a compromise plan on redistricting now that the deadline has passed for constitutional reform in the state. The plan’s creators include Rep. Babette Josephs, D-Philadelphia, who has previously been the main obstacle to redistricting reform in the state. The plan would essentially create guidelines as to how the members of the legislature on the Redistricting Commission go about the process of drawing district lines. Additionally, the process would become more public with hearings throughout the state.
The two lawmakers now are drafting a bill giving additional ”transparency” to the redistricting process while imposing ”specific guidelines” for the existing five-member Legislative Redistricting Commission to follow when it’s drawing new districts. They hope to introduce it in September.
Proposed guidelines include making districts ”contiguous and compact” and keeping counties and municipalities intact.
Under current rules, residents who live on one side of a county, for instance, can be in a different legislative district than their neighbors on the other side of the county. The process is referred to as ”gerrymandering.”
The bill also would allow greater public input into the redrawing, which is based on Census data, and require statewide public hearings. Right now, all of the commission’s meetings take place in Harrisburg.