Pa. redistricting reformers steel themselves for a slog

    Pennsylvania Sen. Lisa Boscola's proposes taking legislative and congressional redistricting out of the hands of state lawmakers and giving the task to an 11-member commission of registered voters. (AP file photo)

    Pennsylvania Sen. Lisa Boscola's proposes taking legislative and congressional redistricting out of the hands of state lawmakers and giving the task to an 11-member commission of registered voters. (AP file photo)

    The Pennsylvania lawmakers trying to wrest redistricting from the control of the legislature say they’re facing an uphill battle.

     

    Backers of the redistricting overhaul said Wednesday their proposed constitutional amendment needs to pass in the next few years if they want a prayer of affecting the redistricting process that’ll follow the 2020 Census.

    “By 2020, we want to get this in place,” said Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Lehigh. “So we’re going to have to do this this year or next year … and then another consecutive year after that in order to get something done by 2020.”

    Boscola’s plan would take legislative and congressional redistricting out of the hands of state lawmakers and give the task to an 11-member commission of registered voters.

    Constitutional amendments require passage in two consecutive legislative sessions, followed by a voter referendum — a tough process in the best of circumstances, and one that’ll be tougher because of the dearth of support from legislative leaders.

    “I guess since they control the process, they don’t want to give it up,” said Boscola. Under current law, the four legislative caucus leaders sit on the commission that controls legislative redistricting. Top lawmakers also shape congressional district boundaries by a separate process.

    At least one legislative leader is listed as a backer of the redistricting overhaul — Sen. Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, the Senate Appropriations Committee chairman.

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