The Pennsylvania legislature would get more control over how state legislative boundary lines are drawn under an amended bill that passed out of the House Government Committee along party lines Wednesday. The original bill removed lawmakers from the process in favor of an independent citizens’ commission. State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, says lawmakers are the most accountable of anyone who might be tasked with legislative reapportionment. “The best way to make sure we have citizens actually being the ones redrawing, citizens who are held accountable to their fellow citizens who elect them to office, and are not just going to go away after the work is done, and be held accountable in the future for their decisions, is to totally gut and replace this bill,” said Metcalfe, committee chairman.
Metcalfe’s amendment completely changed House Bill 722 from its original intent.
The new version calls for six lawmakers, instead of the current five, to have a direct hand in the process, and it cuts out the governor, who typically can sign or veto maps just like any other piece of legislation.
As introduced, the bill had called for an independent citizens’ redistricting commission. Its Senate companion remains unchanged after a public hearing a couple weeks ago, with another hearing scheduled later this month.