Pa. lawmakers float some redistricting ideas, but few expect results

The state Supreme Court redrew Pennsylvania's congressional map this year. Legislators are having a hard time agreeing on how to reform the reapportionment process going forward.

The state Supreme Court redrew Pennsylvania's congressional map this year. Legislators are having a hard time agreeing on how to reform the reapportionment process going forward.

Top Pennsylvania House lawmakers have taken a brief stab at restarting the chamber’s long-deadlocked conversation on redistricting — filing amendments with a few options for changing the congressional reapportionment process.

However, there’s still no clear path toward a consensus.

One of the options involves a nine-member redistricting commission appointed by the legislature, with one non-partisan member. Another would create an 11-person commission chosen at random. A third would have the Secretary of the Commonwealth choose random commissioners, and give legislative leaders limited veto power.

But House Spokesman Steve Miskin said the only verdict so far is that there’s going be a long, long debate before anything actually happens.

“Nothing big, legislatively, ever happens in one session,” he said. “It took, you know, almost ten years to get wine in grocery and convenience stores.”

The legislature’s already out of time to change the state redistricting process before the next reapportionment in 2021. It would have required a constitutional amendment, which at this point, would take too long.

So instead, lawmakers are focusing exclusively on congressional redistricting, which can be changed with simple legislation

Advocates have said that’s where they’ll put their attention as well when a new legislative session starts up in January.

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