Harrisburg, May 22, 2018 – After state Sen. Lisa M. Boscola (D-Northampton/Lehigh) expressed her support for a compromise amendment to her legislation that would create an independent citizens’ commission to re-draw Congressional and state legislative district maps, the Senate State Government Committee today unanimously voted in favor of her bill.
The measure (Senate Bill 22) now goes to the full Senate for a vote.
“When I testified before this committee last month, I said candidly that I was open to changes and compromises because I understood that not everyone agreed with all the ideas in my proposal,” Boscola told committee members. “But doing nothing was not an option, so finding a compromise became critical to ensure that change happens.”
The amended version of Boscola’s bill retains the 11-member citizens commission while specifying that the commission be comprised of citizens who are registered Democrats, Republicans and independents. The amended bill also requires significant public input, applies sound map-drawing standards and establishes a fair process for final map adoption.
True to her original proposal, Boscola said politicians would still have no role in drawing the maps. The Northampton County lawmaker thanked volunteer members of Fair Districts PA and Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) for their part in reaching a “good compromise” on redistricting reform.
State Sen. Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia), who serves as Democratic Chair of the State Government Committee noted, “Senator Boscola worked against the grain for years. She directed the ship, and this would not have happened without her steering it.”
In its statement on the compromise, Fair Districts PA stated, “This is a vast improvement over the current system which cuts the voters out of the process of drawing districts. If it is approved by the full Senate and House, Pennsylvania will rank second only to California in the degree of independence of the body that decides how the lines are redrawn every 10 years.”
Boscola said it is imperative that lawmakers act on the bill before the end of June 2018, otherwise redistricting reform will have to wait until after the 2030 census.
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