State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Bill aims to curtail PA gerrymandering

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Aug 17, 2016 8:23 PM
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The bill sponsors aim to amend the constitution to change how legislative and congressional districts are drawn. (Photo by AP)

(Harrisburg) -- A proposed bill aims to change how Pennsylvania draws its legislative and congressional districts

The bill's sponsor, Monroe County Republican David Parker said the measure would cut down on gerrymandering.

Gerrymandering is prevalent in Pennsylvania--it's when legislative maps are drawn to benefit a political party.

Parker said the ultimate results don't benefit constituents.

"When these districts become so large and kind of snake around and are odd shapes, it's difficult for them to truly represent everybody in the whole district," he said.

House Bill 1835 would amend the state's constitution and seek to decrease party influence on districts.

It would create an independent, "citizens' commission" to oversee drawing of legislative and congressional boundaries.

Parker said that in 2001, his own county suffered from politically-driven redistricting, going from four senators to six.

"None of them needed a Monroe County vote to win their seat, and none of them even lived in Monroe County," Parker said. "So consequently, we really didn't have very good representation. It might sound nice to have six senators, but if none of them live in your county and none of them need any votes in your county, there's nobody advocating for you."

Along with taking redistricting responsibilities away from politicians, Parker's plan would also limit how many state senators and representatives a county can have, based on population.

A companion bill is currently in the Senate.

Parker said he's expecting to tackle the bill after the November election.

Published in State House Sound Bites

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