New Pa. legislative redistricting plan advances

    The panel tasked with taking a second stab at new Pennsylvania House and Senate districts has finally voted on a preliminary plan.

    The five-member panel has canceled multiple meetings, ever since the Supreme Court threw out the maps it drew last year.

    But this week, the Legislative Reapportionment Commission met and voted 4-to-1 Thursday to approve new preliminary state House and Senate district boundaries.

    The court rejected the panel’s previous plan because it had too many district lines that cut through municipalities. They sprawled and meandered, in some cases resembling wishbones and crooked fingers.

    Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, says he thinks these maps go far enough to heed the Supreme Court’s instructions.

    “Mathematically, you can go further. This respects the process which is created by the Constitution, to have input by the four caucuses into the process,” he said.

    How does the latest preliminary plan stack up?

    The Senate map includes about half as many municipality splits as the rejected plan, but the difference between populations from district to district — the population deviation — is twice as high.

    The House map population deviation increased by about 2 percent, and there are just under half as many splits.

    Pennsylvanians have 30 days to comment on the plans, and a public hearing is set for May 2 in Harrisburg.

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