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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on witf’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Smart Talk Friday is a fast-paced program featuring thoughtful and engaging conversations about the politics, policy and people who are shaping Pennsylvania’s future. Host Matt Paul and witf Capitol Bureau Chief Mary Wilson invite your multimedia interaction before, during and after the program.

Hosted by: Matt Paul and Mary Wilson

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TV Smart Talk - Legislative Redistricting Redux

Written by Nell McCormack Abom | Sep 13, 2012 8:53 AM

Castille.jpgIt’s Round Two before the PA Supreme Court today for Pennsylvania’s redrawn legislative district maps. Weigh in with your thoughts tonight at 8 on TV Smart Talk on witf TV.

Last January, the justices surprised nearly everyone when they voted 4-3 to throw out the first version of the maps drawn up by the Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission.

The court ruled the maps unconstitutionally split too many municipalities and counties. Pennsylvania must redraw its congressional and state legislative districts every 10 years to account for population shifts. And every time, the process is fraught with charges of gerrymandering and personal and political recriminations.

This time, however, Republican Chief Justice Ron Castille stunned political observers by voting with the Democrats on the high court to send the legislative district maps back to the drawing board, upsetting 40 years of judicial precedent in PA. And, at the center of the story was a little known piano teacher from Lehigh County, Amanda Holt. She had become intrigued by the arcane world of reapportionment and spent hours on her home computer devising her own version of the maps. She testified against the LRC’s plan and Justice Castille cited her work in his ruling opinion.

An appeal of the Version Two maps adopted by the LRC in June is now before the justices. It’s important to note that Democratic House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, a member of the LRC, voted for the new plan and called it, “a fair map that gives us an opportunity to take back the House.”

But, his Democratic colleague on the panel, Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, vehemently disagreed, especially when it came to the Senate map. “We have a plan that’s going to perpetuate Republican dominance in the state legislature,” he said in January.

What do you think of the new maps and the entire redistricting process in Pennsylvania? Join our guests, Pete DeCoursey, Harrisburg bureau chief for Capitolwire, a subscription online news service, and Amy Worden, a reporter who covers politics and Pennsylvania government for The Philadelphia Inquirer.  Call 1-800-729-7532, email us at, leave a comment below or on Facebook.

Watch a preview of the episode below.

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