Bethlehem, July 16, 2020 – – Yesterday, State Senator Lisa Boscola attempted one final time to put the issue of the creation of an independent commission for legislative redistricting before the voters of Pennsylvania by offering an amendment to Senate Bill 1166, during the Senate Rules and Executive Nominations Committee. Unfortunately, the amendment was tabled.
“Yesterday, I made one last plea to my Senate colleagues to act on the need to reform the process in which legislative districts are drawn in the Rules Committee consideration of SB 1166,” Boscola said. “In order to change the process and take the politics out of the process of drawing district lines for the next round of redistricting, we needed to act. Sadly, the motion was tabled on a party line vote.”
Boscola’s amendment would create an 11-member Independent Commission to draw our legislative lines in the State House, State Senate and Congress in time for the 2022 elections patterned after other states and was similar to her previous proposals of Senate Bill 484 of 2015-16 and Senate Bill 22 of 2017-18.
“We need less politicians and less suspicion around the process of drawing our legislative lines,” Boscola stated. “We need to fix this process for all time. We should take it upon ourselves to take the politicians out of the process and insert an independent, disinterested, multi-partisan commission of individuals to lead our redrawing efforts.”
Boscola noted her plan enjoys the support of Fair Districts Pa, Committee of Seventy, League of Women Voters, NAACP and many others. Additionally, across the Commonwealth, twenty-four counties representing 70% of state’s population along with 370 local governments have passed resolutions in support of this plan.
“People have lost faith in the fairness of our elections and this needs to change. And we can change that,” Boscola urged her colleagues. “This democracy ultimately belongs to the people and free and fair elections are the bedrock of our democracy. This starts with ensuring our legislative lines are drawn blind to partisanship. People need to believe that the system is open and seeks to serve their best interests.”
In order to get a constitutional amendment before the voters in time for the redistricting required following the 2020 United States Census, the General Assembly needed to pass the proposal before adjourning for the summer recess.