Effort to redraw congressional maps inches ahead in Capitol

Written by The Associated Press | Feb 6, 2018 3:17 PM

Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional district sprawls across portions of five different counties. Its cartoonish shape has made it the poster child for gerrymandering nationwide. (Photo by Dan Gleiter/PennLive)

(Harrisburg) -- A meeting between the governor and Republican legislative leaders, and a House committee's unanimous procedural vote, are the most visible signs of progress in the effort to enact new congressional district maps.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf met briefly with House Speaker Mike Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati on Tuesday, but no progress was reported.

Elsewhere in the Capitol, the State Government Committee positioned a bill to be ready in case there's a deal.

Friday is a court-ordered deadline for lawmakers to give Wolf a new plan for his consideration. Wolf will have until Feb. 15 to decide whether he supports it and can recommend it to the court.

If that doesn't happen, the justices say they'll take proposals and develop their own plan for this year's races.

The justices on Jan. 22 ruled the existing plan violated the state constitution and threw it out.


This story has been corrected to show the court's decision was Jan. 22, not Jan. 23.

An earlier story appears below. 

(Harrisburg) -- Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and the Legislature's top two Republicans are discussing new boundaries for Pennsylvania's 18 congressional districts since they were struck down in a gerrymandering case.

Wolf said Tuesday that he didn't know if a breakthrough was possible and he didn't know what proposals House Speaker Mike Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati would bring to him.

Turzai and Scarnati say it'll be difficult for lawmakers to approve new boundaries by Friday's deadline because the state's high court hasn't explained why it found the boundaries to be unconstitutional.

The court's Jan. 23 decision gave lawmakers until this Friday to pass a replacement. Otherwise, the justices say they'll adopt a plan, potentially one proposed by a party to the case.

The U.S. Supreme Court turned down Turzai and Scarnati's request to halt the redrawing.

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